There’s no such thing as an iPad app

After the reviews of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 trickled out yesterday, the meme on Twitter seemed to be “Apple needs to create better iPad apps.” Nilay Patel of The Verge said it, @Lessian said it, and earlier @Monkbent said it.

While I agree with their intent—that iOS, now running on 64-bit processors, is fully capable of much more than apps do today—phrasing it in terms only of the iPad does a disservice to Apple, to UX designers, to developers, and to businesses.

I’m here to warn you today that there is no such thing as an iPad app. And if you think about it that way (thinking that iPhone and iPad—and even Mac OS X—apps are different things), then you haven’t fully grasped where Apple is moving to in the future.

It’s funny: in the past six months, the argument has completely inverted. Earlier this year, at a mobility conference, I gave a presentation called “You Can’t Ignore the Tablet”. Now, six months later, here I am warning people not to create iPad-only apps.

There are both technical and non-technical reasons why iPad-only apps don’t make sense. Here’s a list of 4 reasons why you don’t want to create an iPad-only app.

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The one thing no one is talking about for Apple’s iPad & Mac event this week

Software.

Sure, everyone wants new devices, and new devices are a key part of Apple’s ecology, but devices without software (apps) are meaningless. Take Windows Phone… please.

OK, so some people are talking about OS X Yosemite and iTunes 12 being unveiled tomorrow. Sure, that’s software, but we’ve heard all about Yosemite at WWDC in June, and iTunes will get a new coat of paint but otherwise won’t be significantly different.

I’m talking about major software changes. What am I talking about?

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Apple’s A7 64-bit chip could mean universal, desktop-class apps on the iPad and iPhone

There is lots of analysis out on the web now about how important the 64-bit-ness of Apple’s new A7 chip (in the iPhone 5S). They all seem to be missing a big point: the A7’s power means all sorts of desktop application power can be used on iOS devices like the iPhone 5S, and the soon-to-be-announced iPad 5 (I imagine the iPad mini 2 will use a last-generation processor, such as the iPad 4’s A6X, to keep its price down).

Let’s take a look at Apple’s iWork suite (now free for new iOS device purchasers, by the way) for an example of what the future might look like for OS X and iOS apps.

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Apple has thrown down the gauntlet: 64-bit Desktop Class A7 Chip and Free iWork Office Suite

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet.

The iPhone 5S has a 64-bit, desktop class, A7 ARM chip in it. This presages the introduction (next year?) of ARM-based laptops.

All new iOS devices will now come with iWork (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) and iPhoto and iMovie for free. (My guess is when OS X Mavericks is announced next month, iWork will be free for new Macs, too).

What does this mean for the enterprise?
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