Update — The very real problem with the iPad simulator described below is affecting hundreds of developers and turns out to be an artifact of a documentation error by Apple.  Literally what should have been a ‘>’ was made a ‘<‘ by mistake (or vice versa).  The result is that some applications were built in a way that was within the tolerance of the simulator but not of the target hardware.  Now that iPads are coming available the solutuion is simple: test your app on the actual device.

It’s iPad Day and the fanboys and girls are out with their credit cards buying the non-3G, non-GPS early model iPads that go on sale Saturday.  These are the iPad equivalents of an iPod Touch.  I haven’t touched one yet though I’m sure I will shortly.  But I don’t expect all of my favorite iPod Touch applications to be waiting for me on the iPad because developers are telling me that they are being rejected for the simple reason that their very fine apps won’t run on actual iPads.

The problem, you see, is that very few developers have iPad hardware.  Almost none do, in fact.  So nearly all development has taken place on the iPad simulator.  And now it turns out the simulator maybe wasn’t as accurate as Apple led developers to believe.  Or maybe the actual hardware has deviated from Apple’s original spec.

iPad applications that run perfectly well on the simulator are being rejected by Apple because they literally won’t work on the actual iPad hardware.  I’m sure this won’t be a problem for long now that iPads are about to begn hitting the streets.  But it is ironic, no?

The irony, for me, comes from the fact that there is a fairly long history of companies issuing technical specs that third-party developers find hard to meet for all kinds of reasons.  This happened with NFS from Sun, which Apple, NeXT, and SGI were all incompatible with for awhile because they wrote to the spec, not to the interface as it existed in reality.  Everyone else ignored the spec and just made their NFS implementation work with Sun’s, which turned out was incompatible with Sun’s own published spec.

Now with the iPad we find that both the simulator and the actual hardware are probably off by a bit.

But this too shall pass.