A new forecast predicts Apple is now selling more than 200,000 iPads per week in the U.S., a total greater than the estimated110,000 Macs sold stateside every seven days.
Analyst Mike Abramsky with RBC Capital Markets issued a note to investors Thursday in which he suggested iPad sales are now just below that of the iPhone 3GS in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2010, when the pace was at 246,000 per week. Abramsky cited checks with sources indicating that sales remain strong, thanks to sustained word-of-mouth for the product.
"Retail store checks in mid-May show widespread iPad stockouts at Apple retail stores and Best Buy," Abramsky wrote. "(More than 25 percent) of Apple stores have only selected Wi-Fi iPads (3G sold out) and are allocating to waiting lists)."
Apple’s controversial (although not illegal in most states) no-cash policy for the iPad was introduced to limit gray-market iPad redistribution. The demand for iPads remains high world-wide, and as the eBay iPad site shows, there’s money to be made for anyone willing to part with their new electronic friend. It’s kind of like Terry Pratchett’s notion of "negotiable affection." Sure, you love the iPad — but there’s no question that it’s profitable to share that love with others.
Though there’s certainly much controversy about the iPad, there are many business professionals — perhaps like you — that have trooped out and bought one. Like the iPhone and iPod Touch, the real power is in the apps. This might be especially true for the iPad, where apps might be able to help make up for some of the lacking features: no multi-tasking, non-existent USB and SD, no phone or texting, and missing Flash support for the web browser.
Remember, all iPhone and iPod Touch apps should install and work on the iPad. However, given the bigger screen and feature differences, many developers are releasing another version specifically designed for the iPad. Most of the 21 apps you’re going to read about here are already adapted.
As you may know too well already, the iPad lacks a USB port, SD slot, or any removable storage support. Besides the $29 adapter kit, the Wi-Fi or 3G connection is pretty much all you have to transfer documents, photos, and other files in and out of the iPad. This $9.99 app leverages the Wi-Fi connectivity to make accessing and transferring files easy. It lets you mount the iPad as a drive on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer so you can drag and drop files. Additionally, its web-based interface lets you access the iPad from any web browser.
Though the iPad isn’t a phone, you can make and receive calls via the Internet phone provider Skype when connected to a Wi-Fi network. Remember, calls to or from other Skype users are free and unlimited landline/mobile calling is only a couple bucks a month. At the time of this writing, Skype is still working on 3G support and an app specifically designed for the iPad.
Since the iPad isn’t a phone, you can’t send or receive SMS or MMS text messages, right? Wrong! You can email and participate in social networking with the iPad, so you shouldn’t have to pull out your phone just to text a colleague, friend, or family member. This free, AD supported, app lets you send and receive unlimited texts right on the iPad, without a phone number. Plus the app offers group texting features where you can join or start texting communities — its the new chatroom. To get rid of the ADs, purchase it for just $2.99.
If you ever participate in Webex meetings over the Internet, download this free app to attend or conduct meetings with your 3G or Wi-Fi iPad. You can see any shared documents, applications, or desktop. Plus you can collaborate with the other participants with voice and/or text chat. You don’t even need a WebEx account to attend, only to start meetings.
In the week following the launch of the iPad, six of the top ten selling business-related paperbacks saw a significant spike in unauthorized downloads on BitTorrent, according to BitTorrent news blog TorrentFreak. This cohort saw average increases of 78 percent over the week prior to the iPad launch. While this data may suggest the onset of an eBook piracy revolution, such a coup is still a long ways away.
The study initially sought to track pre- and post-iPad unauthorized downloads of the top ten selling books on Amazon.com. However, that proved a difficult task, as none of them were available on public BitTorrent trackers, other P2P services, and Usenet.
The next logical step for TorrentFreak, then, was to track unauthorized downloads of the top ten business-related paperbacks from Amazon.com. Such books, according to TorrentFreak, "fit well with the demographics of iPad buyers." And of these ten, only six could be found. If this was the case with piracy of music and movies, the record companies and movie studios would be partying as if their business models were more like they were in 1999; it’s relatively easy to find the current top ten songs or movies on P2P networks.
Here’s an interesting demo video from Comcast that features an iPad as a remote control with a few extras. In the demo, Comcast’s Brian Roberts shows how to use the app to search for programming (both TV and On Demand), change channels and even program the Comcast DVR. Pretty neat.
Once paired with your cable box, simply browse the TV schedule or the On Demand options. To jump to a show, simply tap its name and presto! The cable box changes channels. Likewise, you can tap an On Demand feature to start it playing. The keyboard will make searching a lot easier (think Apple’s Remote app with the Apple TV).
One British firm is now starting to use iPads as electronic flight bags, although not on “real” aircraft. The company, Virtual Aviation, operates Airbus and Boeing full-motion flight simulators at London Heathrow and Gatwick airports. While these expensive and realistic simulators are most often used for pilot training, Virtual Aviation also provides public experience flights and corporate team-building events.
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