Design iOS 6 Apps for the Right Devise: iPad or iPhone - dummies

Design iOS 6 Apps for the Right Devise: iPad or iPhone

By Neal Goldstein, Dave Wilson

The iPad, of course, has an older albeit smaller brother — the iPhone. In one corner, you have a light, small, mobile device that you can take with you — one that almost disappears as it becomes part of a user’s daily life.

In the other corner, you have a device that shines at presentation and can immerse the user in content — a device you can think of as somewhere in between an iPhone and a Mac.

But often, it’s not one or the other. You might, for example, want to use an iPad to research and plan a road trip, but while you’re traveling, you’d like to be able to access all that information on your iPhone, which is a lot easier to take along as you explore.

What you don’t want is one app for planning and a different app for traveling. Instead you want a seamless integration between the two, and although you may prefer to do one task on one device versus the other, you also want to be able to do either on both. It’s a function of user interface design and primary versus secondary functionality based on what the device does best.

What’s more, you should keep the laptop and desktop in the picture as well (yes, personal computers do still have a place in this brave new world). Don’t ignore the laptop or even the desktop. If a user has to engage in a lot of manipulation or data entry, the PC is far better to work with than the iPad.

All these devices combine to serve the user in what can be called an application ecosystem. The idea of an application ecosystem, depicted in the figure, is to distribute functionality to the device that does it best. To do that, it helps to understand what application functionality is best suited for which device.

The stages in planning and developing an app.

For example, imagine an application aimed at photographers. The app could show you the best sites to photograph, the best time of day to photograph them, and the best setting to use on your camera. The app could even map the locations to take them from.

On an iPad, the user could take advantage of the large display to go through the photographs and decide which ones she wanted to take. She could select those photographs to create a shot list that she could order by time of day and location. Then when she was done, she could access that shot list from her iPhone.

She could carry just the iPhone with her, and as she took the photographs, she could update the ones she had taken with the actual settings and time of day, and then be able to access that information from her iPad.

Or imagine a road trip. A user would plan it on his iPad and then access directions, maps, hotel reservations, and places to eat from his iPhone. He could even take notes on his phone about his experience, and add his own photographs from his phone to document his trip. He could then use his iPad to create his own trip album.

The possibilities are endless.

If you want to provide applications for the right device and the right function, and you want seamlessness and consistency across all platforms, does that mean one universal app, or two or three apps with lots of duplicate functionality? Fortunately, you won’t need lots of apps — that’s where the cloud comes in.