Apple today released a new version of its retail shopping app -- Apple Store for iPad (free, App Store) -- designed specifically for the larger screen real estate offered by the iPad.
It first launched the iPhone version of its Apple Store app (free, App Store) in 2010 but took almost three years to give it some iPad love. Today we get some insight about what took so long. The new Apple Store app is a complete re-write as opposed to a straight port of the iPhone code, in fact it looks nothing like the iPhone version.
Apple designed it using the new lightweight, open design language from iOS 7. Gone are the gray bordered search box, bottom menu and generally dense information found in the iPhone version. They've been replaced white space and disappearing menus that give the product images more room to breathe.
The Apple Store for iPad app really benefits from the larger, high-resolution product images that Apple added to its iPhone app when it was updated for iOS 7 in September 2013. For example, the iPad mini product page includes eight images that you can swipe between, each can be zoomed with the familiar pinch gesture and the photos look stunning on the Retina iPads.
Features of Apple Store for iPad include:
- See the latest trending products that others are buying, sharing, and reviewing.
- Use pinch gestures to zoom, browse and compare.
- Personalize an iPad or an iPod with free engraving, and get signature gift wrap.
- Buy products on the go and pick them up at your favorite Apple Retail Store, or have them shipped to your door.
- Find an Apple Retail Store near you and view hours , get directions, check product availability, make Genius Bar reservations, or sign up for workshops and events.
- Explore Apple Retail Stores around the world and mark stores as favorites.
A new feature that's exclusive to the new iPad app is a "Now Trending" section that displays products that are garnering a lot of views (and conceivably purchases) in the app.
Currently, the iPad app is U.S.-only and is missing a couple of features found in the iPhone edition. For example, it doesn't have the same retail store integration found in the iPhone version, such as EasyPay and location-aware Genius Bar check-ins. Some speculate that this is because Apple sees the iPad as more of a home device (as opposed to the iPhone which is always in your pocket) and left out some of the in-store features.
I suspect that Apple left out some of the location-based features in order to ship the iPad app in time for the all-important holiday shopping season. I'd wager a bet that the iPad app will become location-aware in a future update. The iPad app does provide convenient access for selecting store locations and viewing and booking appointments.
I suspect that it won't be long before either a) the iPhone app gets a rewrite to include some of the features in the iPad edition, or b) Apple makes the iPad app "universal" so that one app will work on both the iPhone and iPad platform.
What do you think of the new iPad app? Will you be using it for ay holiday gifts?