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Bob Moon: In case Apple’s marketing juggernaut somehow hasn’t reached you yet, the much-hyped iPad is supposed to hit stores this weekend. Apple’s new touch-screen gadget is being touted as a rival to Amazon’s digital book reader the Kindle as a replacement for laptops for travelers, and so much more that we’ve just gotta have. Not surprisingly, some businesses are racing to have applications ready for the iPad in time for its launch on Saturday. So why not hop on the bandwagon with Marketplace’s Rico Gagliano.
Rico Gagliano: When Apple’s Steve Jobs 1st unveiled the iPad in January, one of the prototype apps he showed off came from the New York Times. It lets users read the Times in a digital format that’s more like an actual print edition. Ever since, the iPad’s been hailed as just the thing to convince people to pay for online print media. So it’s no surprise other newspapers and magazines had high interest in quickly developing similar apps.
Jeff Whatcott: Very high interest.
That’s Jeff Whatcott. He’s with Brightcove, a company that helps media outlets like Fox and Time Magazine make videos that work on smartphones. Now he says clients are clamoring for help making videos work on iPads.
Whatcott: We had enough inquiries that we said, you know what, we need to get our customers gathered together and do briefings in both New York and London, as opposed to having hundreds of individual meetings. That’s not something that we pull together all the time.
But print media isn’t the only industry with a lot to gain by jumping on the iPad bandwagon. Erica Ogg is a tech reporter with Web magazine CNET. She says video game developers see the device’s potential, too — especially if they can be the first to roll out games for the iPad.
Erica Ogg: By getting out there first, you’re gonna get people’s attention. People are gonna be eager to try out these new apps on their iPad, and they’re gonna be probably a little more expensive than the apps were for the iPhone.
Still, no one knows whether consumers will ultimately use iPads at home or on the go — or how many of the things Apple will even sell. Which makes it tough to predict which apps, if any, will be worth the effort. As NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker says:
Stephen Baker: Yeah, it’s great to be there, but you know, if a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear it make a sound?
In Los Angeles, I’m Rico Gagliano for Marketplace.
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