Apple's iPad set to attract more advertisers

05 May 2010

CUPERTINO: Apple, the consumer electronics giant, has already sold over one million iPads in the US, a trend that is likely to encourage more brands to take an interest in this platform.

It took Apple almost ten weeks to ship a million iPhones in its home market, but its new tablet device recorded 300,000 sales in its first week alone, and has since built on this momentum.

"Demand continues to exceed supply and we're working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers," Steve Jobs, the company's chief executive, said.

Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, argued that while it was still "too early to say for sure" whether this category had long-term potential, Apple's latest innovation was "off to a good start".

Some 12 million apps have been downloaded by owners of the iPad to date, either from the 5,000 tools designed solely for this gadget or those which had been previously been made available on the iPhone.

The most popular applications include Apple's Pages, Numbers and Keynote software – which are broadly equivalent to Microsoft's Office package – as well as games like Pinball and Scrabble.

USA Today, the biggest-selling newspaper in America, launched its own application soon after the iPad officially hit store shelves, and has secured a total of 218,000 downloads to date.

In July, USA Today will start charging users to view its content via the iPad as it seeks to monetise this aspect of its operations.

Speaking on a recent call with investors, Craig Debrow, chairman/ceo of Gannett, the parent of USA Today, gave a positive forecast about its prospects.

"It's a very easy application to work with. I would expect that we're going to see continued growth in this with similar numbers for some time to come," he said.

"The opportunity that we have with this really can set a new stage ... It's off to a very good and positive early start."

Elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal reported in mid-April that 30,000 existing subscribers had taken up the option to access its iPad app for free, while 3,200 new subscribers chose a paid-for option.

"Media blogs have a tendency not to be overly magnanimous to the Journal, but there is almost unanimity that the Journal's app is the most sophisticated of its kind," Robert Thomson, the Journal's managing editor, wrote in a memo staff.

"We chose to create a newspaper-like experience, in part, because we wanted readers to pay for our splendid content."

Procter & Gamble has also rolled out a free application linked to its Pampers diaper brand, which provides a pregnancy calendar for expectant mothers, and a range of other rich media material.

Patrick Kraus, North American marketing director for Pampers, said the Hello Baby tool was an "experiment" from which the company hoped to gain an insight into this and other digital channels.

Ebay, the online auction site, has also launched an app that attempts to replicate "window shopping" and take advantage of the unique benefits offered by the iPad.

"Normally when you do a search on eBay you get several thousand products and you have to refine the search," said Steve Yankovich, vice president of platform business solutions and mobile at eBay.

"But because of the nature of touch-screen technology and no need to limit content to one single page, just by swiping the screen you have this continuous flow of high-resolution images."

Data sourced from Financial Times, Seeking Alpha, Brandweek, Internet Retailer; additional content by Warc staff