Joe Hewitt, who developed the awesome Facebook 3.0, but controversially (and some would say detrimentally) left the iPhone platform before Facebook 3.1 over the App Store review process, has come out extremely positively about the iPad:
iPad is exactly the product I've been wishing for ever since I wrapped my mind around the iPhone and its constraints. While the rumor mill was churning with all kinds of crazy possibilities for the Apple tablet, I mostly rolled my eyes, because I felt strongly that all Apple needed to do to revolutionize computing was simply to make an iPhone with a large screen. Anyone who feels underwhelmed by that doesn't understand how much of the iPhone OS's potential is still untapped.
Hewitt claims the biggest constraint he had in making the ultimate Facebook app was screen size, and the iPad removes that completely. But what about his concerns over Apple's role as iPhone -- and now iPad -- gatekeeper?
The one thing that makes an iPhone/iPad app "closed" is that it lives in a sandbox, which means it can't just read and write willy-nilly to the file system, access hardware, or interfere with other apps. In my mind, this is one of the best features of the OS. It makes native apps more like web apps, which are similarly sandboxed, and therefore much more secure. On Macs and PCs, you have to re-install the OS every couple years or so just to undo the damage done by apps, but iPhone OS is completely immune to this.
Web apps is also how he sees working around Apple. Anyone can make anything they want for the iPad, provided they're willing to run it on their own server and not gunk up the end-users machine. That, Hewitt says, is the key to total client-side freedom.
So here's hoping the platform gets Hewitt back, if not for Facebook 3.2 or 4.0 for the iPad, then for something equally as impressive...
[Thanks to Fassy for the tip!]