First iPad Apps Arrive Ahead of Hardware

As has been reported, the first iPad apps showed up late yesterday in the iTunes store. I haven't bothered to try and count but the Wall Street Journal says there are 2,300 at launch. As expected, many of the paid apps cost more on average than on the iPhone -- larger device, larger price. 

Since people don't have these new devices yet in their hands, we don't know exactly how they'll be used in different or similar ways vs. the iPhone/iPod Touch. While people have repeatedly said that the iPad is like a big iPod Touch, that description fails to appreciate that there will be a range of new use cases here -- especially for the enterprise and business users -- and it will "diverge" from iPod Touch use cases fairly quickly. 

Given the generally (very) positive reviews we can assume the device will go on to be a success. It probably won't be a "mainstream" success until the price comes down somewhat, following the pattern of the iPhone. Like the iPhone also the iPad will probably represent the beginning of a new phase of computing. 

But how will these devices be used and what types of apps will really succeed here? They won't be used like smartphones in most cases, but neither will they be used just like laptops. They will travel with people but they mostly won't be used "on the go," though perhaps in the car by kids in the back seat. 

In this very preliminary moment I imagine the iPad as a reader and media/entertainment device (books, news and video). It will also likely emerge as a supreme (catalog) shopping platform I would imagine -- NearbyNow's Scott Dunlap discussed with me yesterday some of his company's efforts in that direction for the iPad -- and as a phenomenal platform for magazine publishers and their equivalents. 

I also suspect that many people will have these in the kitchen over time, with all the implications that conjure up: quick Internet search, weather, news, recipes, video, VoIP calling and so on. There will also likely be a wider range of uses for this device than the iPhone. The immediate "killer app" however is Netflix -- Pandora to a much lesser degree here than on the iPhone. 

It will be fascinating a year or two from now to look back. Will the iPad have created the kind of impact on the market that the iPhone did? My belief is yes but we'll see. 

Meanwhile Flurry Analytics shows that develop interest in the iPad continues to grow:

For reference, we compare this to pre-iPad ratios to demonstrate how much developer interest the Apple iPad is attracting. Specifically, we compare averages taken across 2009 vs. the last 60 days, pulled earlier this week.

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One of the less recognized strategic benefits for Apple of the iPad (and its probable success) is that it keeps more developers and development resources tied up with the iPhone OS -- less bandwidth to develop for competing platforms. Appcelerator and Rhomobile: get cracking. 

We can expect to see Android/ChromeOS-based imitators of the iPad (with Flash) come out in fairly short order. The HP Windows 7 slate device (absent an aggressive price point) will likely fail. But Asus has announced a device and there will be others later this year and early next year. 

Google, for example, was going to put out a cloud-only netbook by end of year in time for Xmas shopping. I suspect the strategy will shift somewhat now, both among hardware OEMs and at Google, in the same way that the original Android prototypes looked like BlackBerry phones but post-iPhone adopted the iPhone's full touch-screen form factor. 


Related: Apple's list of iPad-ready sites (read: HTML5 video in place).