Blog Post

Why the iPad Is So Promising for Developers

The iPad may be Apple’s (s aapl) next gold rush, but it’s also positioned to pay dividends to mobile developers in a big way. Applications for the much-hyped device will generally cost more than similar offerings on the iPhone, developers said in a story from the BBC this morning, due to unknown demand for the iPad and the extra work required to design to create feature-rich offerings that take advantage of the gadget’s high-tech screen. That presents a lucrative opportunity for developers who can entice users by fully leveraging the device’s capabilities.

Just how many people will want an iPad (or any other tablet) is uncertain, but GigaOM Pro VP of Research Michael Wolf predicts the tablet app market will reach $8.2 billion by 2015 (sub req’d). The increasing demand for mobile applications is crystal clear, however, according to data released today from Mplayit. The app discovery and merchandising startup said that 35 percent of iPhone, Android (s goog) and BlackBerry (s rimm) users are interested in paid applications, with BlackBerry users willing to pay the biggest premium of all, with a medium price point of $5.99.

Those figures should be especially encouraging for developers targeting users of the iPad, which promises to offer a more interactive experience than is possible on even the best smartphones. Consumers who have grown accustomed to shelling out a couple of dollars for an iPhone game will surely pay a premium for titles that leverage the iPad’s 9.7-inch, high-resolution screen and its multitouch functionality. So if the iPad is a hit, developers who can deliver the goods on the impressive device will benefit as much as Apple will.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Forecast: Tablet App Sales to Hit $8B by 2015

5 Tips for Developers Targeting the iPad

The iPad: Cable TV for Publishers?

Mobile OSes Are No Longer Just About Mobile

Image courtesy Flickr user Johnny Vulkan.

8 Responses to “Why the iPad Is So Promising for Developers”

  1. Why won’t the iPad app market be a race to the bottom like the iPhone app market? I don’t see anything fundamentally different about the iPad market preventing this except for wishful thinking on the part of developers. In a saturated market competitive pressure will predominated. (It’s essentially The Prisoner’s Dilemma from game theory.)

    Apple is encouraging universal iPhone and iPad apps. So most universal apps will be priced to be competitive as iPhone apps. The exception would be cases where the iPhone support of a universal app is provided as a convenience to support the iPad product, but given the difference in the size of the two markets (approx 100M devices vs <1M devices) this is a less common scenario.

    Another thing that’s not clear yet is whether user app pricing expectations have been irrecoverably spoiled by iPhone app pricing. Will users be able to look at a $10 or $15 iPad app price and not automatically think “That expensive”?

    The other factor is that Apple has set the bar for pricing of sophisticated productivity apps with the $10 iWork apps.

    • Colin Gibbs

      You make some good points, Relwal. But I think users who plunk down several hundred dollars for what largely is a complementary device are less likely to buy the kind of novelty apps that are so popular on the iPhone. And because the iPad can support more sophisticated, immersive apps, developers will have more ways to differentiate their apps than they do on the iPhone.