Well it’s finally here! The Apple iPad. There has been no single technology that I have been more excited about than the iPad. Ever since the tablet rumors started last summer I have been anxious to get one and yesterday I finally did.I have been developing for the iPad since they announced the availability of the SDK in January. It’s been a long road for us at Olive Tree as we worked to prepare our software for the launch of the iPad. Not having the actual hardware in hand has been a bit frustrating for us.

For one thing we didn’t know what the performance of some of the features we were adding would actually be. Developing for the iPhone has taught us that the simulator runs things typically faster than the device and there are things that the simulator will let you get away with that the actual hardware would never let you get away with. So we have gotten into the habit of testing on the device and testing often to be sure we are not getting to far down the road with some performance bottleneck. This was one luxury we did not have with the iPad.

Second and just as important is usability and user experience. We knew from day one that this was not just a big iPhone, anyone who says it is doesn’t get the iPad, it’s a whole new device that the world has never seen. It is true that developers had access to the simulator from the first day the SDK was released but the iPad can not be fully experienced in a simulated environment. Let me put it this way the iPad is not simply software it’s the whole package, hardware, software and Apple magic. As such new and innovative approaches have to be developed along the way to capture that experience and you can really only do that with a real device in hand. So when we were faced with a design question that we just couldn’t answer with an iPhone we typically took the safe route and developed something we knew was familiar to most users rather than developing something so totally new and foreign to users which in the end could potentially be unusable on the iPad. I think time will tell but I believe our initial release will be a strong contender in not only the bible software arena but also in the eBook reader realm as well.

So finally getting the device in hand yesterday was exciting because for the first time in two months of solid development at Olive Tree we were finally able to see our software in action on this amazing new device. I was expecting the worst but amazingly everything worked and worked well right out of the box! From a usability perspective I think we did well, and do feel we have more room for improvement but our initial launch on the iPad is a strong one.

Make no mistake we are not done with BibleReader on the iPad we are only just getting started. iPhone users can also take heart in the fact that we have not stopped iPhone development either. We have so many plans for our upcoming releases that we will busy improving our product for years to come.

I wrote this on my iPad ;-)

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