Till now, all the Apple iPads that came into the market were one standard size. But now, with the advent of the all-new iPad Mini, the equation seems to have changed entirely. This device is now something that lies between the iPhone and the regular iPad that we have been used to, up until now. No doubt it is a powerful and more portable device, which also gives one access to all the apps in the App Store. However, holding and working with the 7.9-inch does feel a little strange. So what can the iPad Mini do for app developers? Is this new device a boon or bane for app developers? Read on to find out….
Designing Apps for the Smaller Screen
While most app developers have welcomed the idea of creating apps for the smaller device, some experts are of the opinion that apps that are basically designed for bigger screens may have trouble working properly on the Mini. There are also those apps that contain multiple UI elements and have a lot of processes going on in each of their screens. Such apps too would take a beating, clarity-wise, on the smaller screen of the iPad Mini.
The smaller form factor of the iPad Mini has received a nod from users and app developers alike. While its portability factor has been widely appreciated, some app developers, who are already struggling with the different form factor of the iPhone 5, are concerned that they may have to spend many more painful hours scaling down several UI elements of their app in order for it to run perfectly on the new device.
Of course, the screen of the Mini offering the same aspect ratio as the original iPad is an advantage that app developers can leverage in order to reach a wider and different audience. Some developers feel that designing an app for the smaller screen and then manipulating its elements as to work on the original iPad screen may be the optimal solution. However, this may not work as expected while changing from landscape to portrait mode and vice-versa.
Tinier Touch Areas on the Screen
App developers have generally voiced their concerns about the fact that shrinking the screen size of the Mini would automatically lead to fewer and tinier touchable areas on the screen. Some of the buttons and UI elements may get too small to stand out on the app screen. At present, the touchable elements on the screen are about the same size of those on the iPhone. However, iPhone developers are already well aware of the screen limitations of the device, and so, they would have designed their apps with that factor in mind.
More experienced iOS developers do not think that this could pose a challenge, since they follow the “minimum interactive area” rule set by Apple, which recommends a 44x44 pixel size for app buttons.
Apple has also stated that the iPad Mini responds intuitively to the user’s touch, by way of judging if the finger was actually interacting with the screen or was merely placed on it. Apple has so far not been at the receiving end of criticism for this aspect and so, developers are hoping that the company gets it right this time as well.
While the existing iPad apps work well enough on the iPad Mini, there are certain apps that require minor tweaks in order to run smoothly on the new device. All developers agree on the viewpoint, though, that it would be most desirable if Apple released a set of developer tools in order to help them manipulate their apps for each of Apple’s different devices.
On the whole, app developers are of the view that the new iPad Mini presents a great opportunity for them to showcase their capability and creations. Yet, they would now have to think of ways to establish a built-in flexibility factor into their apps, so that they can work well all of Apple’s devices.