Lots of great stuff about the iPhone out of Steve Jobs’ keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference this morning. Almost all of the keynote was dedicated to the new iPhone, though a few data points were shared about the iPad:
- over two million sold in the first 59 days (that is one every 3 seconds since launch day)
- 8,500 native iPad apps currently in the App Store (unfortunately, 8,400 of them kinda suck, IMO)
- Those native iPad apps have been downloaded 35 million times (17 apps per iPad)
- 5 million iBooks downloaded in first 65 days (22% share of total eBook sales)
So, a successful product by pretty much anyone’s measure. I was hoping to see some data about use in the enterprise – but I think it is still a bit early.
The balance of the keynote was mostly about the new iPhone 4 and its operating system, iOS 4. I thought I’d buzz through the key announced features and consider whether and to what extent we will see these things on the iPad.
- FaceTime (Hardware/OS). This was Steve’s “one more thing,” and it is an new open standard protocol for video chat/phone calls. While we don’t have a front facing camera in the iPad yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one in the next version of the iPad (indeed, the frame seems ready for one). I think video conferencing would be a natural use for the iPad.
- Cameras (hardware). This is subsumed into the prior point somewhat, but I think a front facing camera on the iPad makes sense. Note that the cameras going into iPhone 4 have a backside illuminated sensor. Without getting into a bunch of camera geekiness, suffice to say that this is more important than megapixels. I would happily take a sensor with greater light sensitivity over more megapixels anyday (you should too). Also, they didn’t shrink the size of the megapixels – which is a good thing. A bigger pixel can absorb more light. So, your 5 MP picture of your friend at the dimly lit bar will look way better than the 8 or 10 MP picture taken with a camera without these features. Yeah, the camera companies really focus on megapixels because they are easy to advertise…but just trust me on this one. I’ve never thought a rear facing camera makes sense for the iPad, but it seems easy enough to include (EDIT: after thinking about iMovie for iPad, this makes more sense now). I’ll go out on a limb and say we’ll see better versions of both cameras in the next version of the iPad. LED flash too.
- Thinner (hardware). iPhone 4 is 24% thinner than iPhone 3. While impressive, I don’t think the iPad will get much thinner. I think the iPad’s thickness is important for its structural integrity. A thinner device might be less rigid which could lead to a somewhat flimsy feeling device. If the iPad gets thinner, it won’t be materially so.
- iMovie (app). So, they are cramming a version of iMovie onto the iPhone. I’ve shot and edited a couple movies with my iPhone using ReelDirector. While fun, I wouldn’t make a habit of it. Just too small of an interface to work with video. By contrast, the iPad would be an ideal tableau for compiling a quick movie. Enough space to manage clips, build transitions, manage projects, etc. I think iMovie for iPad is an almost certainty. In fact, it might even arrive in advance of the next version of the iPad.
- Retina Display (hardware). They’ve crammed a ton of pixels into the screen of the new iPhone: 326 per inch (the human eye can detect 300 ppi from 10-12 inches away). That is four times the number of pixels on the same size screen. The iPhone 4 will have 78% of the pixels as the iPad. By way of comparison, the current iPad has 132 pixels per inch. I fully expect this new display technology in the next version of the iPad. Note that a better screen means apps can display more intricate images. Those pdf files with even the smallest text will look great on screen. May also mean more precise input.
- Better Glass (hardware). This is related to Retina Display. Lots of adjectives for this new aluminosilicate glass: 20 times stiffer than plastic, 30 times harder than plastic, more scratch resistant, more oil resistant…John Gruber says the new manufacturing process effectively fuses the screen and the glass making the display look like it is painted on the glass rather than resting under it. You’ll see this in the next iPad I suspect.
- Gyroscope (hardware). Will make games cooler. Yeah, they’ll stick this in the iPad as well.
- Ambient Light Sensor (hardware). I don’t think this got much mention at the keynote, but I saw it mentioned on one of Steve’s slides. An ambient light sensor would automatically scale down brightness when you are in a dark room, scale up when outside, etc. Good for power management and matching what the user expects. No reason this won’t make it to the next version of the iPad as well.
Many of the new iOS features will work just fine on the iPad. The iPhone 4 gets them this month while the iPad has to wait until this fall. Nothing lawyer specific here, but at least the first 3 promise to be key improvements that all users will enjoy. The features getting most the ink include:
Two features will be hitting the iPad later this month in the form of improvements to the iBooks app. While small, these are actually very usable improvements for lawyers who use pdf files a lot. Those are:
- pdf support
- highlighting, notes and better bookmark support
While this won’t replace GoodReader for me, I may move some of my “permanent collection” (e.g., key statute chapters) into the shelves of iBooks and use GoodReader and the like for the files moving in-and-out.
Looks like a great revision of the product. Sadly, I’m not eligible for a regular price upgrade until May of 2011. For full consideration of the iPhone announcement from the iPhone perspective, be sure to check out Jeff’s post over at iPhone J.D. For those with two hours to kill, enjoy the full keynote below.