Monday, February 17, 2020

Why There’s No Instagram iPad App

Mitchel Broussard (Reddit):

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri took to the platform over the weekend to answer a few user questions on his story, shared by The Verge’s Chris Welch. Among the many things asked, the topic of an official iPad app for Instagram was brought up, and Mosseri explained why we haven’t seen one yet.

According to Mosseri, the company “would like to build an iPad app” for Instagram, “But we only have so many people, and lots to do, and it hasn’t bubbled up as the next best thing to do yet.”

It seems like there must be more to it than that. Even if they didn’t want to reimagine the app for iPad, they could tweak the iPhone app to make it fill the whole screen. So either they predict so little value for an iPad app—even multiplied by the huge size of their userbase—or an iPad app would somehow be a negative. Do they get more tracking and user data if you browse on an iPad in Safari?


Update (2020-02-22): Chen Li:

Half baked is still a ton of effort - thinks all the basic features that need supporting: feed, creation, direct, stories, security. People would rate one star without any of these features. It’s basically another IG app for a super small % of people

Update (2020-02-24): Tanner Bennett:

All of these exist in the iPhone app. Can you elaborate on what exactly is wrong with just blowing these up with a few split view controllers here and there, etc?

Update (2020-02-28): John Gruber:

My best guess is they think engagement on the phone is worth more, so they do everything they can to drive you to the phone app.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

> It seems like there must be more to it than that

I'm not so sure. There must be thousands of things on their backlog, and probably things that affect hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. It doesn't seem too unlikely to me that they don't want to add another platform to support, one that will create its own share of unique problems, require constant effort to maintain and update, and probably isn't used by that many people, comparatively. Even just making the iPhone app full-screen will probably have some follow-on costs.

Instagram images aren't big enough for current iPads. The widest image Instagram serves is 1080 pixels. The absolute biggest they serve is 1350 high x 1080 wide. The biggest iPhone (11 Pro Max) is 1242 px wide but most of the iPhones are close to or smaller than 1080 pixels wide. Smaller iPads are around 1600 pixels wide with the 12 inch iPad Pro being 2048 pixels wide.

If the feature increases the ability to show them ads, track you, or is otherwise ripping off a perceived threat (aka Snapchat) they will implement it (although in that last category they will half ass it - Snapchat is still so much better at editing and adding text/gifs to videos on the fly).

I think they made a conscious decision that the location data from your smartphone and/or the data within your browser is valuable enough to discourage you from using your iPad.

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