What are the differences between iPad & iPhone apps?


3 minute read
Alumni: Kieron Gurner

Alumni: Kieron Gurner

UX & Design Lead

Digital Insights

The markets for tablets are increasing in the same way that smart phones did. We’re now seeing more and more tablets at lower price points, and an increasing attitude that tablet sales will overtake desktop & laptop computers in the next year or so. This signals the need for businesses and organisations to start taking tablets more seriously, but the costs of developing for both platforms can be intimidating. So we pose the question, do you really need an app for iPhone and iPad?

The differences between iPad and iPhone apps are significant, and since iPhone apps run on iPad, the decision can be difficult to make. But there are several things to consider about the way your app is presented and used by your audience.

Screen Size & Usage

An obvious difference is the size of each device. At 9.5” x 7.3”, the iPad offers much more screen space for your apps to take advantage of. This size means that users tend to use tablets more for productivity and consuming content via apps.

Although iPhone apps run on the iPad, they don’t have the same quality of resolution, as they’re just stretched to fill the screen (or presented at iPhone size). It’s also worth considering that the additional space doesn’t just give you the chance to make your app bigger, but also provides an opportunity to use the space differently. Tablet apps introduce the possibility for separate panes for content and navigation, and the screen can be comfortably split into sections so that you can maximise what you give to your users in a single moment.

Portability & Business Uses

People carry phones with them everywhere, which means that smart phones will always have a unique sense of immediacy that tablets could be generally left out of (although small tablets may be set to challenge that). This means that tasks and experiences that are spontaneous and time-driven, like checking what time the last bus home is, are suited perfectly to smart phones.

Where tablets have the edge is for apps that don’t need to move around that much. Catalogues and displays in retail spaces, exhibitions and heritage buildings are perfect candidates for static applications of a tablet.

The increase in business uses of iPads, such as the increase in retail stores starting to replace their till systems with tablets, just shows how much potential there is in targeting business markets, as well as consumers.

Start thinking about developing iPad apps

Almost every Fortune 500 company is using iPad apps as part of their strategy, and as tablet sales increase, not just in the consumer, but business markets too – it seems like tablet apps are going to be a crucial part of all organisations that want to keep up.

We’ve recently launched support for iPad apps in our AppFurnace app-creation platform, so even if you don’t have the budget to pay for custom app development, you can break into the iPad app market yourself by signing up to AppFurnace Plus and using the easy-to-use platform to create an app.

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