Widgets for iPad?

Intriguing theory from Kevin Fox, regarding the built-in system apps from the iPhone that aren’t included — or haven’t yet been included — on the iPad. The glaring omissions are Weather, Stocks, Clock, and Calculator. Fox’s theory:

These apps are missing from the launchpad because they’re no longer apps. They’re dashboard widgets.

I’ve been thinking about the missing apps since Wednesday — I mean, the thing has fewer apps than the 1.0 iPhone. And Weather and Stocks seem like no-brainers. One thought I had was that they were just not finished yet, and would be there in March. Another thought was that they’d left these things off for third parties. But that doesn’t sound like Apple.

Widgets are an interesting explanation, and it never occurred to me that the missing ones were mostly widget-izable. In fact, until April 2007, the iPhone 1.0 Weather, Stocks, and Calculator apps were Dashboard-style HTML/JavaScript widgets. Jobs called them “widgets” on stage at the MWSF iPhone debut, and I later verified it with informed sources. (The iPhone OS 1.0 jailbreakers even found an empty /Library/Widgets/ folder.) Apple scrapped them and reimplemented them as native apps late in the game because the performance just wasn’t there — they all felt sluggish.

One thing that strikes me as off about Fox’s hypothesis is the Mac OS X Dashboard-style mode. No, I think they’d just live right on the Home screen. And then that might also explain why the home screen is so sparse. And maybe on the lock screen too? I like this idea.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010