Apple aired its first television commercial for the iPad during the Academy Awards telecast March 7. The 30-second spot shows a pair of hands using the tablet PC as a media player, e-reader, scheduler, and e-mail platform. The iPad is expected to make its debut April 3, as the company shows ever-accelerating signs of preparing its App Store and other properties for the rollout.
The commercial, which has been posted onto Apple's Website, provides yet another quick look at the iPad user interface. Among the features on view: an iPhone-like "Slide to Unlock" bar, an iBookstore for e-books with a design heavily reminiscent of the iTunes store, a virtual QWERTY keyboard and the iWork productivity suite optimized for touch.
Apple's previous ad campaigns, notably the "Get A Mac" series, focused on either the company's hipster ethos, or the purported advantages of Macs over Windows-based PCs. By contrast, the initial iPad commercial focuses solely on the device's functions, perhaps a necessary tactic given the stark differences between a 9.7-inch tablet and a traditional laptop.
Around 150,000 mobile applications will be available for the iPad upon its release, according to the Apple Web site, which represents a slight uptick from the 140,000 predicted during Apple's Jan. 27 product unveiling. Apple has been encouraging developers to create applications for the device using the iPhone SDK 3.2 beta.
According to mobile analytics company Flurry, the number of Flurry analytics being intregated into iPhone OS applications increased threefold in January, the largest spike that the company had ever seen. Peter Garago, vice president of marketing for Flurry, suggested in a Feb. 12 posting on the company's official blog that the rise in application starts was likely due to "excitement generated by Apple's iPad event in January."
Research firm IDC predicts that Apple's App Store will feature 300,000 apps by the end of 2010. That expansion, coupled with Apple's increased focus on being a mobile device company, has led to a more thorough policing of third-party developers' products.
In a Feb. 22 article in The New York Times, Apple's head of worldwide product marketing, Philip Schiller, suggested that certain apps had been pulled because their content was "getting too degrading and objectionable." The company has also moved to pull apps by developers who allegedly post false positive reviews. Although bloggers and developers noting an "Explicit" category that briefly appeared on the iTunes Connect System, which is used to post applications to the App Store, that categorization promptly disappeared; Apple has not confirmed whether its short-lived presence was a bug or a test of some kind.
However, as noted by Apple-centric sites such as Macworld.com, some developers are wrestling with a lack of actual iPad devices on which to test their newly developed products, despite having a simulator bundled with the iPhone SDK 3.2 beta.
While those developers wrestle with whether to wait until the iPad's release before they begin polishing their code, some organizations have been a little bit luckier. According to a March 3 article in The Wall Street Journal, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch suggested that his company has been allowed to work on one kept "under padlock and key" by Apple. Presumably, other large companies have been allowed a more hands-on experience for developing their wares.