Apple announces iPad, a bigger version of iPod Touch. With a big screen of 1024×786 pixels. And it comes with basic need of surfing internet and be online. So called magical and revolutionary device does not support Flash and Silverlight yet. And most of business apps today, built upon RIA are running either on Flash or on Silverlight. And IT Devs are heavily investing in RIA technologies due to snail speed of WWW group. However, the device can replace a laptop for most of users who just spend time on internet doing their regular business, studies or entertainment. So lets analyze what will be future of Web for different type of users.
Today students need a good web browser and an internet with lot of social media websites to study, interact, entertain and play games. Apple iPad is a best bet for students. Do they really care that it does not support Flash and Silverlight yet? Answer is no. They will certainly buy iPad, come to the website, and if it has Flash or Silverlight, they will call website’s support instead of Apple’s support and say,
Your website is not working on my iPad.
Sales Reps and Business Owners
Looking at the cost, and attractive looks, Sales Reps and Business Owners will buy iPad because they usually do not type anything great whole day, all they do is, look at websites, present demos (which are powerpoint or keynote), and access their office through online business portals. For all these purpose they will be very happy with iPad. However, once they come to your business app through online portal, they cant see Flash or Silverlight, they are not going to call apple support. They will call IT devs and say,
What the hell IT devs are doing, cant they make our business app work on iPad?
Independent professionals like Doctors, Lawyers, Photographers, Actors .. anyone who probably does not sit in front of PC for more then 2 hours a day, will certainly like to get rid of big laptop bag with 4-10 external wires and device connectors. All what they do mostly is, check their emails, surf the websites, fill simple forms on some business web apps and which they can do it on iPad. Today iPad may not have great drawing tools but some professional apps on App store will certainly provide capability of tagging, drawing and marking tools needed by these professionals. Today lot of business applications are on Flash and new ones are coming on silverlight. But iPad will not support !! , once again, they will pickup the phone to vendor and say,
Your website is not working on my iPad.
Who needs any of following?
Clerks, Graphics/Media artist and IT Developers, which comprises of small part of computer users. Because their applications and workspace requires bigger screens and multiple devices, connectivity and computing performance. Apple’s iPad will be useful only to test the business apps and for other entertainment to this group.
It seems iPad will spread in Home Entertainment, Education and Independent Professional sectors very fast because of low cost solution. And that will shake the developer community.
Troubles for IT Devs
- Current investment in Flex or Silverlight is at stake, as usage of mobile devices is increasing heavily, supporting business apps on these devices will not be possible until device OS creators, Adobe or Microsoft work towards supporting RIA technologies.
- Silverlight/Flex are heavy and costly to run on battery based devices, they will consume more cpu and battery to create consumption problems.
- Rewriting apps in light HTML5 is a big challenge, training, planning and supporting all existing modules will be a big pain. However looks like World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been sleeping for 10 years to create features of RIA required today. Need of consumers were high, that created innovations like DHTML, Flash and Silverlight, and the problem was, W3C never observed in market what consumers (Internet users) really need.
- Even if you decide to invest heavily on iMac and decide to make apps that can run on iPad, your Apps are at mercy of Apple Employee doing approval, here is the funny process.
Death of Free and Open Internet
IT Devs will slowly loose the independence over distributing apps against open free internet distribution. Today any release, distribution of media (song, movie, play) etc are controlled by major Labels.
If The Intelligence will be controlled by major Labels in IT with narrow route to success by Apple, Google, Microsoft etc giants, then the growth we saw in last decade in IT industry will slow down very rapidly and independent innovators will become slaves to major labels.
Will Bubble of RIA Burst now?
Once again, just like Dot Com, if RIA (Flex/Silverlight) Bubble bursts and all IT Devs will be blamed again.