Aussie developers love the new iPad, but lack of local 4G a disappointment

Australian developers have enthusiastically welcomed Apple’s new iPad, saying the high-resolution screen will enable them to update their existing apps, while game makers say the updated graphics processor will help them create more powerful programs.

However, there has been some criticism as the new device will not be able to connect to Telstra’s 4G network.

Rob Murray, chief executive of Australian iPhone app development studio Firemint, told SmartCompany he is “extremely excited” about the new hardware.

“The resolution on the new iPad is larger than we can represent on our monitors, so to simulate games like Real Racing 2 and Flight Control Rocket for the device we have to put two monitors side by side.”

“The new iPad is a great example of portable technology outpacing the desktop and lounge room. I can’t wait to get our hands on the new chipsets and show what Firemint can do.”

Murray says while the studio has been working with a retina display on the iPhone, using it on the iPad will enable it to create “a whole new level of immersion”.

Keith Ahern, chief executive of Oomph, which manages a major publishing form on iOS, says the retina screen will help increase the quality of various publishing formats including basic HTML and PDF documents.

“Many alternative tablet publishing solutions are simply JPEG images of magazine pages, these fixed resolution solutions will look no better on the new iPad.

“Inline with the super fast 4G network support in the new iPad and the continued rollout of the NBN we expect developers to embrace video at higher resolutions in their iPad apps.  At Oomph we have no doubt that the future has never looked brighter for tablets and the burgeoning tablet generation.”

Phil Larson, chief executive of the Queensland iOS studio Halfbrick, told The Verge the company is in for a lot of hard work to update the apps, but that it will help out in the long run.

“Apple said themselves that with a little bit of time, developers can do things that are mind-blowing. That’s definitely what we are setting out to achieve, so the team in Australia will be getting down to business.”

But despite all the praise for the new device, there is some criticism that it won’t be able to connect to Australia’s only 4G network. Apple has made a few different 4G versions for networks in the United States and Europe, but these operate on different frequencies than the only Australian network, operated by Telstra.

Although Vodafone has said it plans to construct a 4G network, and other telcos are set to follow suit, they won’t be fully operational for several months or even years. For local users, faster broadband download speeds will be quite a while away.

Telsyte senior consulting manager Chris Coughlan told SmartCompany this morning local users shouldn’t expect a 4G model any time soon.

“I think this is a North American company catering for a North American market primarily. Their two biggest customers are AT&T and Verizon, and they need to cater for those.”

Even though more 4G networks are planned for Australia, Coughlan suggests Apple will cater to its main markets first and then create a localised, 4G-capable version when local telcos catch up.

“Realistically, there are probably another two versions of the iPad before…local networks become available. They could release something later in this hardware line up this year, but I doubt that.”

The iPad is set to launch in Australia on Friday, March 16, along with an updated Apple TV set-top box.

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