Apps Missing from iPad Tell a Story

Conspicuously absent on the iPad are some apps that we have come to expect as part of the package. The iPad does not come with Calculator, Weather, or Stocks. Arguably these apps were not Best of Breed apps. Apple is clearly sending a message that they are not interested in providing applications that are not core to their business model. They are getting out of the way and letting the developer community fill the gap. This is a good thing.

Calculator: There is a wonderful calculator for the iPad called “PCalc Lite” PCalc Lite Calculator. It is free and allows through in-app purchasing to upgrade the calculator to add more features.

Weather: Give both Weather BugWeatherBug and The Weather ChannelThe Weather Channel® Max apps a try. You can also find weather embedding in various other apps like USA Today or your local TV News station’s application. There are specialized RADAR apps as well as apps to track everything from Hurricanes to Earthquakes.

Stocks: Check out Bloomberg Bloomberg. It’s free. It lacks storing your stocks in the cloud. If you want that kind of a feature check out Mint.com.

I’d like to see Apple let YouTube and Maps players go but clearly they see those as integral to the experience and they are not likely to rely on Google to maintain them at the expected Apple level of quality.

One thing I found very interesting was how Apple delivered iBooks. It did not come with the iPad. It was available as a free app download. The user is prompted upon entering the App Store for the first time making it extremely easy to get. This is a really good thing. It means that users can delete the app if they don’t want it. Network administrators can prevent it from ever hitting the phone. Apple doesn’t need to worry about parental controls in the app as it would be treated like any other app with a rating. And the most important benefit: Apple can update the iBooks app independently of the operating system release schedule. The iBooks app will never have to wait until all versions of the OS have been updated to send a bug fix to users. This is going to be a problem as Apple increases the number of platforms it is supporting. You can see already they are leaving the first generation iPhones behind in the next rev of the OS. Even the previous generation is only going to get partial support for new features. This kind of decoupling is necessary for the long term success of the platform.

The iPad does include a “Videos” app like the iPod Touch did. This is a cleaner metaphor than the iPod app which is confusing on a device also called an iPod. Should the iPod app be called just “Music”?

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