Our attention has recently been drawn to the fact that there are an awful lot of people who want to test their websites on iPhone and iPad but do not have the actual device. Mostly they are drawn to sites that claim to “enable” this.
When I google “iPad emulator” then the first thing that pops up is a domain with a similar name. The same happens when you’re looking for a “simulator”. I won’t link to them since that would make them more popular :). What do they actually do?
Let’s see what their name “emulator” or “simulator” suggest that these tools should do. An emulator (according to Wikipedia) duplicates (or emulates) the functions of a first computer system (the guest) in a different second computer system (the host), so that the emulated behavior closely resembles the behavior of the real system. A simulation is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. To make it simple: If you get an error on a real iPad, you should get it on the emulator or simulator as well, right?
The only thing that resembles iPad in both of these tools is only the pixel count of the resolution and aspect ratio. In fact it is using the engine of the user’s browser not the rendering engine of the original iPad. It is a simulation of how your page might look like in iPad, but that’s where the comparison should stop. The same effect can be used to resize your browser window.
What do these things do – they simply lie to their users.
The closest you can get to an iPad without actually having one is to run a MacOS X machine with the official iPhone emulator/simulator. That’s what we’ve done in our tool. Our tests show that the official emulator really emulates. It produced the same picture as a real iPad as you can see in our previous post.
For the fun-loving: here’s a link how good ol’ MS-DOS has been emulated on iPad. http://nexgadget.com/2010/10/26/apple-approved-dos-emulator-for-ipad-is-pretty-much-as-good-and-bad-as-the-original-video/Posted by