Developers are already jonesing to build apps for the Apple tablet, according to a Jan. 26 report from Appcelerator.
The tablet-which Apple has never acknowledged or confirmed that it's releasing but which is widely expected to be introduced Jan. 27-is already the second most-preferred development platform, behind the iPhone and Android and ahead of Palm's WebOS, Microsoft's Windows Mobile and Nokia's Symbian, according to the report.
Appcelerator, a platform for developing native mobile and desktop apps, surveyed 554 of its developers and found that 90 percent were "very interested" in building an application for the tablet this year.
"We believe these findings are particularly relevant and insightful because Appcelerator developers uniquely represent a broad spectrum of backgrounds," Jeff Haynie, co-founder and CEO of Appcelerator, wrote in a statement.
"There are iPhone and Android developers on the mobile side and PC, Mac and Linux developers on the desktop side. We have a global audience that splits 40 percent in the U.S. and 60 percent outside the U.S., as well as near-equal representation of business and individual developers," Haynie continued.
Among those surveyed, 86 percent said they were "very interested" in developing for the iPhone platform, 68 percent said the same of Android, and 58 percent were very interested in the Apple tablet. BlackBerry devices received 21 percent of the very-interested vote, while Palm's WebOS-referred to as the Palm Pre in the report-received 17 percent, Windows Mobile garnered 13 percent and 10 percent went to Symbian. Maemo came in at the back of pack, with 8 percent showing interest, followed by Moblin, with 5 percent.
On Jan. 24, mobile analytics company Flurry wrote on its blog that the tablet's form factor-particularly its large screen size-was likely to encourage the development of new applications, which could send app price points higher.
The Appcelerator study seconds that notion, with 77 percent of those surveyed saying they're particularly interested in the device's database/storage. The tablet's multitouch gestures and native tablet interface were each a draw for 75 percent of survey participants. Seventy-two percent were very interested in the tablet's multitasking capabilities, and 70 percent had their eyes on its wireless networking capabilities.
"Tablet skeptics frequently mention that the form factor ... represents a limiting factor for the device," according to the report.
"What this indicates is that we may see developers putting the combination of new features together to create novel new applications," the report added. "With multitasking and wireless networking will come an explosion in messaging apps that break free of the iPhone's prior limitations of a single application only being able to run in the foreground."
The report goes on to say that the industry should expect "immediate and massive" experimentation with the tablet's new capabilities, which will eventually lead to a user experience "between the extended use case of desktop/laptop applications and the immediate gratification use case of mobile."
While games-followed by entertainment, books, education and travel-are the top-selling apps in the iPhone App Store, Appcelerator developers have more serious plans for the tablet, with "business/productivity" topping the list of categories that they said they're most likely to create for.
Noting this, the report states that the expected inclusion of a Webcam could encourage video conferencing and video social networking.
Entertainment followed in the No. 2 spot, ahead of social networking, education and finally games.
In a Jan. 26 research note to investors, Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall again called Apple "the best technology company on the planet," adding that it has "numerous catalysts on the horizon."