At the iPad presentation in San Francisco, entities like The New York Times, Electronics Arts, and MLB.com, demonstrated what's possible when it comes to native iPad apps, showing off larger, easier to use menus, new touch controls for games, and large form, newspaper style presentations.
Apple also displayed their own apps made especially for the iPad, like new versions of iWork with touch controls, allowing users to create text documents, spreadsheets, and slide presentations, all with a swipe of the finger.
While the iPad will work with all of the roughly 140,000 apps currently manufactured for the iPhone, they are not made to take advantage of the former's almost 10 inch screen. Apple has made it clear they hope to start a wnole new categories of apps for it, releasing the iPad's development kit on the same day it was announced.
So far, there aren't many apps to look at, but at least one company has stepped up with a native iPad application. On Thursday, the day after the big announcement, Kobo, an e-book app maker and seller currently on the iPhone, announced a new version of their app for the iPad. It seems to mirror features found on Apple's upcoming iBooks app, but the selection of books (currently 2 million) and prices are sure to be different.
The president of Conde Nast, Sarah Chubb, also announced they will have several apps ready for the iPad, including a GQ app, along with Vanity Fair and Wired apps.
As we get closer to iPad's release date in late February, or early March, there are sure to be many more iPad apps announced. And most commentators believe it's these apps that will bring success or failure. As the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg put it, "It's about the software, stupid." He goes on to say:
"the key to whether it can be the first multi-function tablet to win wide public acceptance probably lies in whether consumers perceive it as a suitable replacement for a laptop in key scenarios. And that, in my view, depends heavily on the software and services that flow through its handsome little body."
This seems to follow what history has shown us regarding Apple and the success of their App Store. After all, third party apps have been a huge success on the iPhone, and they no doubt helped to boost sales of the iPhone 3G in 2008. They made the iPhone (and it's cousin the iPod Touch) more like computers than any other phone in history. If app developers can give the iPad all the functionality that users look for in a mobile computer, then Apple will most likely have another hit on their hands.