Several weeks ago, we were asked to create an iPad application. It was something new and we weren`t sure how it would work out at the time, but being interested in the device we decided to take the project.

The iPad SDK, it turned out, is almost identical to the iPhone one, with only a few additions to the frameworks and APIs. Furthermore, our application was completely OpenGL-based, so those differences practically had no impact in this case.

Creating a new iPad application in the Xcode is the same as for the iPhone, except that the iPad needs to be selected as the target.

The whole development process was pretty much the same too, with one exception: we didn`t have access to the hardware so we were only able to test in the simulator. This problem was further amplified by the fact that the application we were developing needed to push the hardware to the limits — and we had no idea where those limits were.

Were we going to be bound by the number polygons we would be able to push on the screen? The fill-rate? Or perhaps by the CPU which was performing the physical simulation?

With only some vague information published on the iPad hardware specifications, we had taken two steps in order to ensure we would only have to do minor tweaking once we`d get the hardware:

1. We`ve created the application so that it can run on the iPhone 3GS too, on its smaller screen. We`ve used the 3GS hardware as the base line, assuming the iPad will probably be an equal or faster device.

2. The application was designed to allow for easy tweaking of several key parameters affecting the performance, so that once we could test the application on the real hardware we`d be able to quickly adjust those few parameters and have the application use all of the available processing power.

In the end, the iPad turned out to be quite a bit more powerful than the iPhone 3GS, but we were able to scale to the newly found power quickly so the application was ready very shortly after the iPad arrived.

Overall, it was a very fun and interesting project, and I personally can’t wait to work for the iPad again.