Sunday, March 21, 2010

MLB AtBat an iPad App

Given that iPhone apps outnumber iPad-only apps by a score of about 150K+ to zero today, I thought it might be fun to dream about how some of my favorite iPhone apps might be altered to leverage the iPad device.

There are a dozen or so iPhone apps I use pretty regularly.  I have them all clustered on the same screen so they're easily located in an emergency.  MLB's AtBat is at the top of the list.  If you're a baseball fan this app is a must, despite the fact that the price went up 50% vs. the 2009 version.  Hey, for that extra $5 you're now able to listen to a game's radio broadcast while running another app.  Yes, multitasking is slowly making its way to the iPhone!

AtBat brings you pitch-by-pitch updates of every game.  They also broadcast just both team's radio feed and there are also several live video feeds throughout the week.  I also love the video highlights they offer after a game.  But this is simply the functionality that exists on the small screen could this app evolve on the larger iPad screen?

First of all, think more windows.  Pop-up windows, in fact.  I love the pitch-by-pitch view of AtBat's Gameday feature (pictured above), and if I want to see what Cliff Lee's stats are, I can just click the link below his name.  But on the small screen, that means Gameday goes away while I view the stats.  So one obvious iPad enhancement would be to show the stats through a pop-up window that doesn't overlap with the Gameday display.

Even better: Let me designate several different default pop-ups the app loads automatically every time I run it.  I'm a Yankees fan and I want to see how Derek Jeter is doing, so regardless of what game I'm viewing in Gameday, pop Jeter's stats up so I can see what he's been doing lately.  Or show me the stats of the 3 most popular stars for each of the two teams I'm currently watching via Gameday.

Speaking of Gameday views, why limit me to just one?  Let's turn the iPad display into a mini-sports bar where I can watch 2, 3 or 4 games at the same time!  Bandwidth issues?  No way!  I'm either using my wifi connection or paying AT&T, and you know Apple & AT&T wouldn't mind seeing their 3G subscribers exceed their bandwidth limits and pay a penalty!

One final point on enhancements like this: I'd pay more for them.  AtBat is, by far, the most expensive iPhone app I've purchased.  I've said before that I'd pay more for it though.  If MLB and Apple add features like what I've described above, there's no reason they couldn't charge more for the iPad version than the iPhone version.

That's right, folks.  Get ready to pay more for your iPad apps than you've grown accustomed to paying for your iPhone apps.  If the enhancements are there, the Field of Dreams saying will prove true: If you build it, they will come.

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