Best Buy to have iPads on launch day

Best Buy lines.A few weeks back someone dug up some placeholder SKUs in Best Buy’s database that seemed to indicate the store would be getting the iPad. There was some speculation, though, since it seemed the first run of the device was going to sell out very quickly. As it turns out, the rumors are likely true. Several sites have managed to dig up Best Buy’s “Apple iPad Launch Playbook,” detailing protocol for day one sales of Apple’s tablet.

This is great news for anyone feeling impulsive about the iPad decision. If you haven’t already heard, the first round of iPads is completely sold out. You won’t be getting one from Apple on day one. It’ll have to wait until April 12th. That is, unless you want to hit up your local Best Buy. According to the document some 675 locations will have the iPad in limited quantities.

Source: TUAW

Apple’s real iPad focus: TV

Steven Colbert with an iPad.The iPad may have been sold to the world as the device that will save publishing, but Apple has shown its real focus now that we’re just weeks away from release. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple put the publishing content on the “backburner in favor of focusing on other content,” like a subscription-based television service.

Apple wants to make a sort of “best of TV” bundle available for a subscription fee, as well as offering episodic downloads for a dollar. Content providers have been wary of making any deals, likely because they’re afraid of getting burned like the music industry. Now that we’re years into the digital music business we can see that things haven’t been all bad for the labels, but there are probably some things they wouldn’t have agreed to if given the chance again.

It’s looking unlikely that we’ll see anything by the time the iPad launches, which leaves Apple in a position it knows well – using sales figures to produce contracts. The iPad has already had some nice presale figures. Once version 2.0 rolls out you can bet we’ll see more widespread adoption.

Is the iPad the ultimate snake oil?

Apple's iPad.Yesterday’s early estimates suggested the iPad had moved 50,000 units in the first two hours of pre-sale. Now CNN is claiming Apple sold 120,000 units on the first day of release. Those numbers are certainly impressive, especially since no one can really say what the iPad does.

The real thing people are spending money on with the iPad is a concept. Apple did a great job of pitching the iPad as a reading device, your living room browsing experience at an extremely affordable price. It sounds great, but I have yet to see an application that makes me really burn for the device. Will iBooks be cool? Probably, but I still hate ebooks for a lot of reasons, none of which seem to be addressed by the iPad. They can be, but they certainly aren’t yet.

Lastly, you can’t ignore Apple’s hardware test period. Remember the first iPod Touch? Probably not – not many people bought one. There were serious hardware problems, though. Quiet alert sounds, no hardware volume control, and on and on. Granted, software updates fixed those problems as much as they could, but these are still pretty big issues for anyone owning the first generation of the device. The iPad won’t be as good as it was pitched to be on the first go round. If we’re lucky, it’ll be 90% of the way there by 2.0, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

iPad sales estimates show 50,000 units in two hours

Apple iPad from the back.As pretty as the iPad may be, it’s not the magical, revolutionary device the company would have you think. It could be – it likely will be – it’s just not there yet. That hasn’t stopped people from buying it up like crazy. According to a report from Fortune, Apple may have moved as many as 50,000 units in its first two hours of pre-sale.

That’s not exactly gotta-have-it type sales, but it’s damn good for a device in the same category as the Kindle, which has supposedly only sold a couple million over the course of a few years. It’s also possible that the numbers are a good bit higher. The data used to estimate sales were order numbers, a decent chunk of which presumably included multiple iPads.

Whatever the number, the iPad will have no shortage of guinea pigs come April 3rd.

Source: Macrumors

Reading Material: The iPad rocks for content creators

iPad with iBooks.There’s been a lot of talk about the iPad and its potential to revolutionize the publishing industry. I’ve never really bought it, though I couldn’t always say why. I didn’t think the new form would really encourage publishers to change all that much. Penguin proved me wrong in its discussion of new iPad content, but even Penguin didn’t completely sway me. This article by a book designer named Craig Mod did.

Craig’s whole point is that the iPad not only offers something new, it offers something very old – the experience of reading an actual book. His position is that the iPad preserves the book by more realistically allowing publishers to port their published form, books, onto a new device. The Kindle could only approximate things with its black and white display. By contrast (wink, wink), the iPad’s full color gives publishers the tools they’ve always had for creating rich content experiences. The arrival of links and what we now consider “content-rich” experiences are just icing on the cake.

His article offers a long and winding history of designing books and the kind of thought that goes into a reading experience. It’s worth reading for anyone interested in the future of the written word and/or a passion for creating consumable content.

Source: @craigmod

iPad launches on April 3rd, 3G coming later in the month

iPad maps.Nearly good on his word, Steve Jobs will be delivering the iPad to US customers on April 3rd. I say almost because the April 3rd release is 66 days past the announcement, when Steve-O promised us 60. You can pre-order next week – next week – starting March 12th. The 3G version won’t be released until later in the month.

Some of the questions people are starting to ask include questions about shortages, lines, and the number of iPad-centric apps we’ll see on launch day. The only question I want an answer for is when does iPad 2.0 launch? There isn’t much I care to see on the iPad at this point. Nine months from now, though, that’s a different story. By then most publishers should be comfortable with platform, certainly more comfortable than the haphazard rush we’re currently seeing to try to get things ready. That’s when you get to the good stuff.

The rest of the world will be able to get Apple’s latest creation toward the end of April.

AT&T CEO remains realistic about the iPad

The iPad sparked a lot of unrealistic expectations. There were talks of revolutionary reading experiences and the saving grace of the publishing industry. AT&T isn’t drinking the kool-aid, which actually gives the company a tiny measure of respect in my eyes. When asked about Apple’s tablet, CEO Randall Stephenson said he sees it as a “Wi-Fi driven product,” which is why AT&T won’t be offering any wireless contracts for the device.

“My expectation is that there’s not going to be a lot of people out there looking for another subscription,” said Stephenson. I couldn’t agree more. The last thing I want to worry about for the iPad is paying another $15 or $25 every month for a service I’ll rarely use. Hell, most early iPad adopters are likely going to be iPhone owners. What good would that contract do for them?

AT&T has enough trouble providing quality service to its iPhone users. Let’s get the company focused on that before we worry too much about tablet contracts, shall we?

Source: Reuters

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Is Apple waiting on a better camera for the iPad?

The iPad.More clues have surfaced that suggest Apple is indeed planning a camera for the iPad. We’ve already seen that there is space in the chassis to host a small camera, now MacRumors says there is software to support video conferencing as well. The latest SDK has accept and decline commands for video chat services.

The specific API threads reveal support for at least testing front-facing cameras, zoom, and an LED flash (as in a camera, not the software). 9to5 Mac also uncovered the following buttons for video chat.

Video chat buttons.

The size of the actual image suggests a screen the width of the iPad’s, so it may not be for the iPhone as well. It could also simply be for internal testing, but my guess is that, as with the iPhone, the later generations of the iPad will be where the magic is at. If anything, I’d bet Apple is waiting on a better video camera to put into the iPad.

Acer won’t try to compete with the iPad

Acer laptop.When Apple announced the iPad you could almost hear world inhale, waiting for the onslaught of competitor products with such clever names as the youPad and the Padlet. Can you imagine a world without iPod knock-offs? I can’t. Acer can, though, and the company won’t be feeding the tablet flames, according to Engadget.

The news came from Scott Lin, president of Acer Taiwan, who said the tablet just doesn’t fit Acer’s business model. Instead, the manufacturer will be focusing on ultra-thin laptops, some as svelte as .7 inches when closed. It’s a smart move, one that could grab the interest of anyone scared off by that weird touchscreen keyboard. The company expects the thinner line of products to account for 20-30 percent of sales in the coming year.

Source: Engadget

iPhone OS 3.2 supports video calls, downloads

iPad with keyboard attachment.It was a big surprise to see the iPad launch without a camera, front-facing or otherwise. The device seems perfect for video calls and could easily be used as a point and shoot in a pinch. But, as Engadget reports, iPhone OS 3.2 includes support for video calling, among other new features.

Some of those other features include file downloading with local browser storage and SMS support. Basically, the iPad launch was just the tip of the iceberg. As with the iPhone, this first release is likely just going to get the ball rolling, driving interest and presales among the truly fanatic. From there, it’s a matter of referral. In the first six months the iPhone was out every owner I spoke with was in love with the device, or at least were willing to say that were.

This is how Jobs works – he breeds a sort of elite fanclub around his latest device and builds on that kind of elitism to drive insane sales. Whatever the iPad is now, it’s going to be a whole lot different in the next couple years.