The upcoming release of Apple's iPad tablet PC may be linked to a spike in
third-party developers building apps for the iPhone OS, according to
mobile analytics company Flurry, even as Apple and Google continue to
mirror each other with regard to user retention, session frequency and session
lengths for their respective iPhone and Android applications.
"Retention curves between aggregated iPhone and Android applications
were nearly identical," Peter Farago, vice president of marketing for
Flurry, wrote in a Feb. 12 posting on the company's official blog. "We believe
the underlying reasons include the fact that Android handsets are capturing a
more mainstream audience similar to the iPhone and that Android handsets have
improved relative to the iPhone handset."
However, Apple's introduction of the iPad in a high-profile presentation
Jan. 27 might have had a substantial effect on the development game, at least
in the near term:
"Developers integrating Flurry analytics into iPhone OS applications in
January increased by nearly three times over December," Farago wrote.
"This represents the single largest spike in Flurry history, with over
1,600 new iPhone OS application starts for January." Historically, such
surges come in conjunction with new device releases, leading Flurry to believe
that "excitement generated by Apple's iPad event in January is driving
In turn, that has given Apple something of an advantage on the third-party
development side: "While Android's steady new application growth over the
second half of 2009 closed the gap against the iPhone, reaching as many as one
out of every three new application starts within Flurry for December, the
recent spike in Apple iPad support has swung the pendulum back in Apple's
Furthermore, Flurry interprets this iPad spike as "a positive early
indicator for its commercial potential."
has been encouraging developers to download the new iPhone SDK 3.2 beta in
order to create programs for the iPad, with the company predicting that some
140,000 applications will be available upon the device's release sometime in
the next two months. The SDK includes an iPad Programming
Guide, iPad Human Interface Guidelines and iPad Sample Code, all of which
can be leveraged toward building applications for gaming, music, video,
e-readers and productivity.
Applications such as iWork have supposedly been redesigned to work optimally
with the iPad's touch screen and form factor.
The iPad will include a 9.7-inch LED backlit multitouch display with IPS
technology, capable of delivering 1,024-by-768 resolution. The device is
relatively sleek, with five external mechanical buttons, and weighs either 1.5
pounds for a Wi-Fi model or 1.6 pounds for a version that includes both Wi-Fi
and 3G connectivity. It also runs on a 1GHz Apple A4 proprietary processor, and
Apple claims 10 hours of charge on the built-in 25Whr rechargeable
Apple has also been negotiating with a variety of publishers and media
outlets for content deals. On Feb. 10, the
Financial Times reported that Apple had been apparently successful in its
negotiations with an unnamed number of television studios to offer shows
through the iTunes store for a dollar apiece. Meanwhile, a virtual teardown
of the iPad by research company iSuppli found that the device could generate
substantial profits for Apple, especially the midrange 32GB iPad with a 3G
connection, which costs $287.15 to build and retails for $729.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.