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ExtraBITS for 10 May 2010

All the interesting bits we found on the Web this week revolve around the iPad and iPhone, not terribly surprisingly. Most fascinating are Jakob Nielsen’s iPad usability test findings, along with Bytemobile’s tests showing that the iPad consumes more data than an iPhone. Also, Jeff Carlson talks about iPad 3G details on a MacJury podcast, and we note that Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference sold out in only eight days, despite focusing mostly on iPhone OS topics.

Jakob Nielsen Releases First iPad Usability Test Results — The iPad is obviously not a Mac, but less obvious is the fact that it’s not simply a scaled-up iPhone. Usability guru Jakob Nielsen has now released initial results from the Nielsen Norman Group’s first iPad usability tests. Criticisms raised by the tests include inconsistent app interfaces, low discoverability of interface elements, and an over-reliance on a print metaphor. We’re not surprised; the iPad’s combination of a multitouch interface and large screen size make it significantly different from any previous device, and iPad developers didn’t even have access to physical units for their
initial designs. (Although it’s too soon for a complete list of design guidelines, iPad developers would also do well to read the full 93-page PDF report, in addition to this executive summary.)

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WWDC 2010 Sells Out in 8 Days — Bad news for those who dragged their feet on ordering tickets to this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference: the event is now sold out! Apple set a new record by selling out after only eight days of ticket sales, showing just how compelling iPhone OS development is now, given the minimal focus on Mac-related topics at the conference this year.

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Jeff Carlson Talks iPad 3G Details on MacJury — On a recent MacJury podcast with Chuck Joiner, Jeff Carlson joined a conversation about the first weekend with the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G model. Among other topics, we looked at how 3G access makes the iPad more useful when walking around an unfamiliar city, whether the 250 MB data plan is realistic, and the effect on battery life from the 3G radio.

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iPad Consumes More Data than iPhone for Same Apps — Bytemobile carried out identical tasks on apps using an iPhone (presumably 3GS) and 3G iPad, and found that many generated substantially higher amounts of traffic on the iPad. This is explained by the iPad display’s greater area, which shows more and larger graphics. USA Today’s app used 6.3 times as much data on an iPad, while Maps ate up 2.6 time as much. This will have some impact on whether people choose a 250 MB or unlimited 3G plan (or any 3G plan at all). Bytemobile’s interest? It works with cell operators to optimize content to reduce mobile data use and congestion.

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