iPad as a Thin Client PC for personal or corporate use (via VNC or Citrix GoToMyPC)

I have my own gripes about the iPad launched today – lack of multitasking, front-facing camera, HD video, open APIs for USB/Bluetooth, etc – that would prevent it from being used as an alternate light-weight PC replacement. But I do think in typical Apple style, they would roll out some of these features in future revisions in the coming years.

But in a corporate environment (or personal use for techies), iPad could turn out to be a flexible Thin Client PC if there are good apps for the use case. There are already many VNC clients for iPhone which would probably get updated to iPad promptly. But an app that targets the corporate user with a virtualized desktop & storage on the server – intranet or public cloud – would make the iPad a really useful tool. It already has email, calendar, word, excel, powerpoint and can even support connection to projectors (with the awkward VGA connector). A well-integrated VNC or Citrix GoToMyPC app for the few custom corporate applications could nicely serve the corporate user. Webex already works for the iPhone and if the full features are supported for the iPad it could take care of meetings.

Now if only Apple could give me a nice iChat on iPad with front-camera – Jan 2011??

Update Feb 3, 2010:  Citrix and others are coming out with announcements related to this usemodel for iPhone and potentially for iPad. See this LinuxDevices.com article.

Comparing my “iPad” predictions from Oct 2008… Not bad.

Not bad… 10 out of 14 of my predictions from Oct 2008 turned out to be true today (Jan 2010) – especially the price point.

But my big mis-prediction was that I expected this product from Apple in 2008/2009. They are a year late.

14 Predictions for Oct 14 launch of Apple “notebook”

Here are my predictions for the Apple Oct 14 Launch. Lets see how much of it is correct.

  1. Tablet-PC style Notebook PC called iBook
  2. About 9-12inch Touchscreen.Same Touch UI as iPhone
  3. Only Soft Keyboard or bluetooth keyboard. No Mouse – only fingers or stylus or bluetooth keyboard
  4. Hand writing recognition
  5. Atom Processor with MacOS X of course
  6. $500 to $800 price
  7. No HDD. Only Flash drive
  8. Includes iSight camera
  9. Bluetooth support like Macbook
  10. Includes WiFi and atleast one 3G support (AT&T 3G or WiMax)
  11. Includes iTunes
  12. AppStore extended to include Apps for new iBook
  13. USB, DVI/HDMI Ports
  14. No CD/DVD drives

My First iPhone App – “GMAT Prep using iPhone”

It is still a prototype (works on my iPhone) with only the above two questions at present 😉

Above questions copyrighted by – http://www.gmatbuster.org.

Could Android be a Cross-Platform Mobile App Development environment ?

Adobe AIR, Microsoft Silverlight and Sun JavaFX are all vying to be the next generation cross-platform development environment (for both Desktop and Mobile) – going beyond just language, libraries to full fledged application development frameworks. Apple, of course thinks cross-platform is running on Mac and iPhone 🙂

Meanwhile for Mobile App development, could Android solve that problem ?

I had been playing with Google Android SDK and it seems nice and simple (I for one dig simplicity, my favourite quote being “simplicity is the result of profound thought”). Of course, the documentation could improve a lot, the APIs need to stabilize and the emulator needs to get faster. Most of all, there have to be real phones that can run Android.

But because of its simplicity, I’m wondering if it would be easy to automatically port Android applications to other platforms like iPhone & its clones and Nokia smartphones. What if there was a converter that could take Android projects and convert them to iPhone SDK projects – likely even direct source code translations ?

I think everyone agrees Mobile platforms (called smartphones today) will be the mainstream (in numbers) computers of tomorrow. And many software developers are jumping on board to develop innovative applications. But there are quickly beginning to be too many Mobile App platforms. In spite of iPhone’s success, its unclear what will be prime platform of tomorrow. Hence a developer has to be ready to target multiple platforms in order to be successful.

The Apple iPhone SDK in true Apple-style forces you to learn Objective-C, have a Mac, use Xcode – all adding to the learning curve. Though I’m an Apple-fan and also comfortable with dealing with new languages, this combined hurdle is annoying me – not sure how many others share my opinion. Nokia of course has its own Symbian OS and app frameworks. There are also other frameworks like OpenMoko, etc and the above mentioned JavaFX, Flash.

Instead of a developer having to port their application manually to different platforms, why not leverage Android as a Cross-Platform Mobile App Development environment ? Unlike massive platforms like .NET, Android is a much smaller because of its narrower Mobile focus. Even .NET was ported to Linux by the Mono team. So, it should be possible to have it running on other platforms like iPhone. I’m wondering if even a source code translation would be possible to take Android applications (.APK projects including XML, Class files) and convert them to iPhone source code or Nokia Symbian source code.

Perhaps there are better ways. But my key need is – take my Android app and convert it into a native iPhone App. If such a platform was available, I’d use it immediately – I dont know about others. 🙂

Cheaper iPhone – Really now ?!?

As always Steve Jobs has worked his magic with the new iPhone 3G and we have New York Times headlines as follows:

Apple Aims for the Masses With a Cheaper iPhone – NYTimes.com

Is it really cheaper ?

  • Earlier, it was $399 + $20*24 months = $879
  • Now, it is $199 + $30*24 months = $919

Its funny that respected NYTimes would let a headline like this pass by…

Here is another take on the new iPhone price – “True Cost of an iPhone”.