App Industry Roundup: iPad 3G sales brisk, iAd campaigns costly and media criticism of Apple on the rise

May 3, 2010
Finance

A brisk sales pace for the iPad in the opening weekend leads Monday’s App Industry Roundup. Meanwhile, the media’s love affair with Apple could be jeopardized over the company’s recent behavior and if you’re planning an iAd campaign, hope the client has a healthy budget. Is the Apple iPad a hit? How does 1 million […]

A brisk sales pace for the iPad in the opening weekend leads Monday’s App Industry Roundup. Meanwhile, the media’s love affair with Apple could be jeopardized over the company’s recent behavior and if you’re planning an iAd campaign, hope the client has a healthy budget.

Is the Apple iPad a hit? How does 1 million sold sound in about 1 month? 

That’s the number Apple released on Friday, with analysts citing another 300,000 of the new iPad 3G models were sold over the weekend. The strong opening weekend for the 3G version, which costs $130 more per model than the standard version, lead to sell-outs in some markets, with reports noting that stores in San Francisco, New York, Boston and Houston didn’t have any iPad 3G models left by Sunday. 

Meanwhile, app downloads for the iPad were brisk as well, with Apple noting that users have downloaded more than 12 million apps and 1.5 million ebooks for its biggest touch-screen device.

What do people think of the 3G iPad? Early reviews are generally positive, with the critical — and appropriate question — targeting whether this new iPad is worth an additional $130. In a head-to-head review of a Wi-Fi only iPad and the 3G version, a Mashable review concludes that if you can spare the extra cash, the 3G version is probably worth the investment if you’re a road warrior. But if you plan on using the iPad at home, don’t bother.

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For the traveling salespeople among us, the GPS-based location tools are more accurate on the 3G version. “If you thought that having an iPad installed in your car was a cool idea before, think about it with full GPS support on a 9.7-inch touch screen,” writes reviewer Christina Warren.

On the other hand, Warren notes the 3G service is provided by the much-maligned AT&T, which has a notoriously bad reputation for iPhone owners in several key markets. This problem won’t get any better on the iPad. Worse, if you want to watch video using the 3G connection, prepare for some disappointment.  The image quality is poor over 3G, Warren writes — she provides screenshots that show the quality disparity — while some video services won’t even work over the 3G connection.

Big spenders wanted

If you’re a marketer thinking of using Apple’s new iAd adversting platform as part of your marketing campaign, let’s hope you have a healthy budget. In a new report from mobile marketing news site mocoNews.net, campaigns could easily top $1 million (the minimum Apple is expected to charge for campaigns) depending the number of click-throughs an ad receives. 

“According to our number crunching, CPMs will be highly variable but in some some cases could wind up being triple what marketers are used to paying for banners, and double the price of a video ad on mobile,” according to the report.

ABI Research analyst Neil Strother said the prices may be high, but if marketers deliver a quality product unique to Apple’s mobile products, well, the cost might be right. “Clearly, they are pushing the dollar amount up,”  he said while agreeing the CPM figures sound high. “But if you are getting a highly creative ad that’s interactive and you are the first ones to move, you will probably be written up on every blog from here to Hong Kong.”

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Media love affair with Apple wavering

Finally, the New York Times’ David Carr touches on issues that have are started to frustrate media fans of the Apple brand. From Apple’s aggressive tactics in the “lost iPhone” matter with Gizmodo, to conflicting decisions on what apps to approve, the love affair Apple generally enjoys with the media is being challenged.

“The media’s crush on Apple has always been an unrequited love affair,” Carr writes. “The company has a few familiars in the press whom it favors, but Apple has ‘no comment’ programmed on a macro key. The company has unsuccessfully sued bloggers who, it believed, had punctured its veil of secrecy, and important tech news organizations like Wired have been shut out as a result of coverage deemed ill-mannered.”

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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