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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 Amazon.com'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.