Apple's iPad continues to stoke third-party developer interest as the tablet PC's April 3 launch approaches, according to analytics firm Flurry, which posted new numbers suggesting a continued rise in the number of mobile applications being developed for the device.
"Over six weeks since Apple announced the iPad, Flurry continues to measure a significant increase in iPhone OS new application starts within the system," Peter Farago, vice president of marketing for Flurry, wrote in a March 15 posting on the company's official blog. "We continue to attribute this growth to excitement generated by the impending launch of iPad ... a large portion of the applications we are seeing are custom version of existing applications tailors for the iPad."
Farago suggests that, following Apple's Jan. 27 iPad unveiling, developer startups of iPhone applications with integrated Flurry analytics spiked by 185 percent, versus the preannouncement period of August-December 2009.
That same blog posting also attempts to break down the "heritage" of iPhone and iPad app designers, delineating six categories: those companies founded especially to create iPhone apps, established "traditional media" companies such as Disney creating apps to spread their brand, mobile-centric companies originally started to build apps for other smartphones like BlackBerry, brick-and-mortar companies, e-commerce and other online-centric companies, and traditional video-game makers.
Flurry's analysis shows that 22 percent of iPhone apps are created by online-centric companies, followed by companies founded to specifically create iPhone apps at 20 percent, traditional gaming companies at 19 percent, traditional media and bricks-and-mortar companies at 17 percent each, and mobile-centric companies at 5 percent.
Developers' interest in the iPad may be justified based on estimated preorders for the device, which began on March 12. Some analysts judge that around 120,000 iPads sold via Apple's Website on that date, with some 50,000 units purchased within a single 2-hour period.
Customers seem to be gravitating equally to different versions of the device, with an estimated 33 percent purchasing the 16GB version, 32 percent selecting the 32GB and another 33 percent choosing the 64GB. Some 69 percent of customers have preordered the WiFi version of the device, versus 31 percent selecting the WiFi and 3G-enabled iPad.
Daniel Tello, a blogger and activist, also suggested on the Deagol's AAPL Model blog that sales following that initial spike would level off, as represented by "a new, more subtle" curve once the preorder period passes the 100- to 150-hour mark. That curve will then "get shallower as the days and weeks pass." In conjunction with other members of Investor Village's AAPL Sanity forum, including Victor Castroll of Valcent Financial Group, Tello extrapolated his figures from a 99-order sample over 19.5 hours, to reach the estimate of 119,987 iPads preordered.
Apple claims that some 150,000 apps will be available for the iPad upon launch, a number it hopes to reach by promoting the iPhone SDK 3.2 beta as a platform for new mobile apps. According to a research report by IDC, Apple's App Store will feature some 300,000 apps by the end of 2010, although that rapid increase in offerings has led the company to take steps to police the storefront more thoroughly.
Apple is selling the 16GB version of the iPad for $499 with WiFi, and $629 with WiFi and 3G. The 32GB version costs $599 with WiFi and $729 with WiFi and 3G. The 64GB version costs $699 with WiFi, and $829 with WiFi and 3G.