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Apple's Million-iPad Army

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Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) has already sold more than 1 million iPads, including an estimated 300,000 3G models over the weekend. The market for Web content will never be the same.

For some, this is evidence that the iPad will become the Anointed Tablet. I'm dubious, but there's no mistaking the evidence that I might be wrong. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) has killed what I had considered to be a very promising tablet in Courier, and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) is so desperate to compete with Apple that it's wasting $1.2 billion to acquire Palm's (Nasdaq: PALM  ) technically astute yet apps-light webOS.

Anyone else remember when Apple and HP were iPod partners? No longer, Fool. This is war, and Apple is winning.

A killer content platform
At issue are apps. Already bulked up with more than 200,000 programs for its iPhone, the Mac maker is showing early signs of similar success with the iPad. On Monday, Apple said that users downloaded 12 million apps in the first month of the iPad's existence.

Some of these are sure to be iPhone-sized apps that have yet to be fully formatted. But we've also seen big names introduce specific iPad apps, including Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) and its Watch Now player and's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Kindle reader. The implication? Both companies see value in creating software for the iPad.

More broadly, the iPad demonstrates that there's an appetite for a wide range of apps that exist in a tablet format. No longer are we talking about tablets as just productivity enhancers or smart note-takers; we're looking at them as entertainment platforms.

So long as this is true, developers will commit resources to building more for iPad users. The more they build, the more users will buy. It's a Field of Dreams virtuous cycle that, if proven real, would hand Apple its newest million-device army a market victory.

Crazy, you say? I'm dubious, too. But as an Apple shareholder, I'd love to be wrong.

What iPad apps are you using? Which apps do you long for? Discuss in the comments box below.

Amazon, Apple, and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is working on a defense for the crane technique.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (11)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 6:54 PM, demodave wrote:

    I played with Maps in the Apple Store while upgrading my laptop and old Cube server to a new MBP and a Mini Server. In addition to now working in portrait and landscape form it just *looks* much better on the larger screen. (The only thing missing is the scale bar.) Of course their Internet connection screams, but the device also renders beautifully. I may wait a little while, but I doubt I'll wait a long while.

    Maps alone is huge. I can't wait to surf on one and I also liked the few games I tried out (Labyrinth themes).

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 10:15 PM, beetlebug62 wrote:

    I am quite sure the "12M apps" downloaded are indeed iPad-formatted apps. There's no way for Apple to know if an iPhone-sized app is downloaded for use for an iPad. So, the only apps they could possibly measure has to be iPad apps.

    I have an iPad, an iPhone, and an iPod touch. Apple doesn't know which device I put the apps on, and yes, each device has a different set. In iTunes, you can see which of your apps is formatted for the iPad, and which aren't, they are segregated.

    How could you consider the "Courier" promising? It was only shown as a video concept. No non-working physical mockups have even been shown. How exciting is it to have a big black line where the hinge is, going right thru your movie?

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2010, at 8:39 PM, Babble100 wrote:

    iPhone apps enlarged to 2x still do what the user needs done. So the lack of iPad specific apps at the outset is not much of a drag.

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