Imagine your favorite sports iPhone apps on the iPad

Jan 25, 2010
Games

While we won’t be watching the Super Bowl or NCAA Tournament on the iPad, it’s never too early to imagine how our sports consumption experience will be impacted by Apple’s new tablet computer.  The iPhone, of course, has already whetted our appetite. The biggest near-term question is how some of the most popular sports iPhone apps will look like […]

While we won’t be watching the Super Bowl or NCAA Tournament on the iPad, it’s never too early to imagine how our sports consumption experience will be impacted by Apple’s new tablet computer. 

The iPhone, of course, has already whetted our appetite. The biggest near-term question is how some of the most popular sports iPhone apps will look like on the iPad.

Watching (and playing) the games

The iPad, which is expected to ship sometime this March, could change how we watch Major League Baseball before the Fall Classic arrives. While the popular NFL Superfan (free, but a DirectTV subscription required.) 

As Golf apps also swing successfully on the iPhone, it would be hard to imagine apps like the Golf My Way iPhone apps not making their way to the iPad. Of course, you’d also have to think the Jack Nicklaus instructional video would also see a hefty increase from its current $4.99, price tag given that the DVD set costs $45.

One of the appealing parts of the Tony Hawk: Trick Tips iPhone app (99 cents) – and others like it – is that its instructional videos are accessible to you anywhere you have your iPhone. It looks like the iPad will be just as mobile, so it certainly would be nice for iPhone apps such as Trick Tips to get some more content to go along with the larger screen.

The possibilities for those iPhone apps pale in comparison to the Ultimate Fighting Championship iPhone app (99 cents), in which you can purchase and watch full pay-per-views on your phone. Clearly, the iPad would be a much more appealing option and could increase the sport’s major revenue source.

iPhone apps for sports news

The iPad will likely provide plenty of competition for Amazon’s Kindle, which is excellent news for publishers who are struggling to find a way to expand their influence or discover new revenue sources.

Reading-intensive apps like the Sports Illustrated (free) iPhone app would undoubtedly benefit from a larger screen, making them more viable sports news options. SI also has a photos section that would be improved by a larger screen, though the trick would be making the app stand apart from the website.

Speaking of Web sites, some apps like the NBC Sports Mobile (free) iPhone app – essentially an iPhone app version of the Web site – struggled to find a way to fit all its information into an app, leaving its interface a mess. Presumably, the larger screen would help solve this problem, and the iPhone app’s fantastic video section may finally be allowed to shine.

Many, including myself, regard the Sportacular (free) iPhone app as the best sports news app available. So while the Sportacular iPhone app has already established itself as a player in the sports news arena, if it were to be successful on yet another device, it would only improve its standing in the news world.

Sports iPhone games

It’s easy to see how news and video heavy iPhone apps could benefit being on the tablet computer, though the sports game genre is not quite as clear.

Sure, games like the $6.99 NBA Live iPhone game (or any of EA Sports console games now on the iPhone) could stand for some improved graphics, and to simply more closely resemble their console brethren. But, if we did see these improvements, the prices of the games would have to rise and I’m more than slightly dubious that users would be willing to pay that much – especially when they have plenty of much cheaper options.

Then there are the questions about controls. Racing games such as the Need For Speed Shift iPhone game ($6.99) seem like natural fits on the iPhone because of the built-in accelerometer, though tilting a computer doesn’t seem as natural — or even practical. Possibly, iPhone games like this will just be more reliant on virtual buttons and d-pads, assuming they’re even made for the iPad.

Simpler iPhone games such as JIRBO Paper Football (free) have developed quite a market on the iPhone, and you would think this would carry over to the new device. Its basic controls would be easy to replicate on the iPad, while the only pitfall I can see is that users may expect more advanced iPhone games on the more advanced system.

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