The initial impression that I gathered from my Twitter feed of writers and webcomic artists was using the iPad for presenting content. Most writers saw the iPad and the iBookstore as an ebook competitor and what it means for publishing as a whole. Most webcomic artists saw the iPad as a platform to present their archives or put together 24-page comics at near full-size and in color. I’m looking at the iPad as a portable writing device and a programming platform.
What I need the most was a mobile replacement for my aging Mac mini (PPC) that has grown long in the tooth since the hard drive was killed last summer by killer dust bunnies after nearly five years of continuous use. I need Pages (wordprocessing) from iWork for writing. Check. I need a virtual and physical keyboard support. Check. The price had to be less than a replacement Mac mini (Intel). Check.
Ding-ding-ding! We got a winner!
As a writer, I can load up the iPad with my files and go anywhere to work with my manuscripts. Maybe the iPad will wean me away from yellow notepads and pens to finally embrace the paperless office. Or someone will introduced a yellow notepad app with superb handwriting recognition. Or, if the iPad ends up like my iPod Touch, it’ll make a great paperweight Kindle reader.
I’m also looking for a new programming platform. If I had the time, money and motivation when the iPhone first came out, I might’ve gotten in early on the app store craze and become an instant millionaire. I haven’t been enchanted by either the iPhone or Touch to jump on the bandwagon since then. The one thing that I learned about being successful at anything is finding a niche that no one else wants and run with it. I see opportunities to make to create applications that take advantage of the new iPad features.
I recently started reviewing the C programming language and plan to learn Objective-C programming language and the iPhone/iPad SDK. My first applications will be similar to the Joomla! modules that I have done to pull pictures from various Twitter-based picture sharing websites. If you look at Apple app store, you will find plenty of applications to upload pictures to these websites. None, however, will pull pictures from those websites, present them in a slide show, and enable a user to set a picture as the wallpaper.
A more ambitious application is a kid-friendly turtle graphics with the LOGO programming language. Why resurrect a near dead programming language on the iPad?
- There’s nothing like that available in the Apple app store.
- The perfect opportunity to create a virtual version of Big Trak programmable tank that I loved as a kid, which, unbeknown to me at the time, was a physical version of the LOGO turtle. (When Big Trak is reintroduced this year, I’m planning to get one and may casually steal the keypad interface for my own application.)
- The Berkeley LOGO (UCBLOGO) is a freeware interpreter with C source code that I can use in my own application without having to reinvent the wheel.
- The iPad is the perfect platform for an application of this nature.
When I get this application done, there are several more ideas I would like to pursue. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a game programmer. The iPad might be my ticket — especially if I become an instant millionaire.