A Look Into The iPad SDKElance_Alex | Feb 11, 2010
In the second week of February, Apple, in it’s usual stealthy fashion, released the beta 2 version of the iPhone 3.2 SDK specifically designed for the upcoming Apple iPad hardware. Although public information regarding the new iPhone 3.2 SDK is scarce (beta developers are only allowed to access after agreeing to an NDA), there are a few known tidbits regarding the SDK that you should know if you’re an Apple developer, enthusiast, or hardcore fan.
1. For those of you thinking that the iPad looks like an overgrown iPod Touch, you’re not too far off the mark. According to many reputable sources around the ‘net, the iPad is confirmed to be running the iPhone OS, version 3.2 to be specific. However, in it’s current state, the iPhone 3.2 OS and software development kit (SDK) are specifically designed for use only on the upcoming iPad, so don’t expect to be using it on your iPhones or iPod Touches.
2. The new iPhone 3.2 OS appears to have quite a few iPad-specific features that might not ever make it to the little brothers. Since the device will be carrying a much larger screen at a higher resolution (1024x768), there are several user interface elements that will be specifically designed for the iPad.
The first, called split view, allows you to view both your email list and the message in your inbox while in landscape mode, similarly to most software and web-based email clients out there today. The other, called popovers, allows you to see a context menu which operates very much like your standard right-click (or option click for you Apple fans) on your desktop computer.
Additionally, according to Gizmodo, there appears to be a few new gesture-based interactions in iPhone OS 3.2, like two- and three-finger swipes and new touches and drags (tap and hold, tap and drag, etc.) And also in the UI department is the addition of rich text support, which allows for different fonts, sizes, and more.
3. There appears to be a file directory that will be easily accessible through mounting on a PC or Mac computer. Many reports are pointing to the new iWork suite on the iPad to be the main inspiration of this – after all, why work on your iPad if it’s hard to get your work off of the thing?
4. While the iPad will clearly not have a camera at launch, the iPhone 3.2 OS for iPad shows support for a camera. A quote from CNET says, “According to developer sources, the simulator contains two applications for Contacts and Settings. The latter is self-explanatory, but Contacts supports the option applying a new or existing image to one of your contacts. It isn't clear if this is some holdover from the iPhone SDK framework or if we will see a camera in a future version of the iPad.”
5. Those of you hoping for multitasking on the new iPad or iPhone software, don’t hold your breath. According to many reports, multitasking still has yet to make its way in.
6. The SDK will reportedly support a new “Universal” development category for applications compatible with the iPhone, iPod, and iPad devices. According to Jobs’ announcement, the iPad will already be fully backwards-compatible with all of the iPhone applications out there right now. My guess is that a single app that is designed with universal compatibility will be able to operate on all three devices but will also be able to take advantage of the UI elements present on the iPad.
Again, since the SDK is still in beta form, there might be new features or tweaks on the horizon. Also, once the beta goes final and the iPad gets released, expect a full deep dive into the entire OS and SDK. Any of you developers out there already working on an iPad project? Drop us a comment below with your feedback on the changes.
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