iPad interface guidelines provide glimpse at future apps

Excepts from Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for the iPad have appeared online, offering a look into the company’s expectations for user interaction with iPad-specific applications. Notably, the guidelines call for four-way orientation support, so that users may turn the device in any direction and maintain a consistent experience, and ask that developers reduce full-screen transitions within apps.

One particularly direct passage concerns enhancing interactivity instead of simply adding more features, and states, “The best iPad applications give people innovative ways to interact with content while they perform a clearly defined, finite task. Resist the temptation to fill the large screen with features that are not directly related to the main task.

In particular, you should not view the large iPad screen as an invitation to bring back all the functionality you pruned from your iPhone application.” Other points made in the guidelines call for developers to include ways to share information from the app both physically and virtually, heightened realism within app interfaces, higher-resolution graphics, multifinger gestures, replacing modal tasks with popovers, and more. Apple’s iPad Human Interaction Guidelines are available as a download for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.