Task Switching and Open Development on the Apple iPad

In case you missed it, Apple launched the iPad yesterday. Essentially it’s a beautiful looking giant iPod Touch running the iPhone/iPod OS, slightly adapted to take better advantage of the bigger 10″ screen. It’s available at a remarkably (for Apply, and the hardware you get) low price starting at $499. Not only does it look like a bigger iPod and runs its software, it also comes with the usual suspects: an App Store, synchronization through iTunes etc.

With that come the usual restrictions: only install software through the App Store and no multi-tasking. Although I truly believe the no multi-tasking support limitation is going to be resolved in June, when Apple usually releases new iPhones and iPod touches (and an operating system to go with that), there is a way around both these problems:

The iPad, like the iPhone and iPod touch comes with an excellent, fast browser.

If you build iPad web applications, you can build whatever you like, it doesn’t have to be approved by Apple and you can roll out updates instantly. In addition, web applications, like on the iPhone/iPod touch are the only type of application that “keep running” (in the sense of not being killed) when switching applications. You can have several web apps open in safari, and they’re still there, in the same state, after you exit Mobile Safari and return to it. Although the applications do not run simultaneously, you can easily switch between them, in a kind of task switcher inside Safari, which is its ability to switch between “tabs”:

And yes, indeed. This exactly the direction in which I’m heading with my DSL for mobile applications (which may actually include the iPad as a target).

By the way, I’m trying to come up with a new name for the DSL, now that MobiDSL is apparently taken. Name suggestions? It does not have to include the word DSL at all, preferably not. I’m thinking about something with “Touch” in it, or possibly something completely different. Any ideas?