Friday, May 28, 2010

Thread 3: Last look at International Launch Day

A live blog of new media apps and events surrounding today's international launch of Apple's iPad:

It is almost impossible to get a feeling for the reaction to news apps from buyers of the iPad overseas by looking inside the U.S. version of iTunes. For instance, on Monday of this week, The Times of London app was introduced into the U.S. iTunes store. Selling for $16.99 for four weeks worth of access, the app still has no reviews.
Today, however, the same app has appeared in the U.K. app store. The app, named simply The Times, costs £9.99 for the same four weeks of access. But in the U.K. store, the Times app has several more screenshots, and already has 45 ratings -- predominately positive. Some early reviews from this morning were completely negative because apparently the newspaper was making the content available yet. A little while later the reviews became more positive.

Trolling around the app store this morning also reveals some interesting insights from new iPad owners who are downloading their first apps. For instance, one reviewer of the Wired app from the U.K. comments that he/she much prefers the iPad version because it is the U.S. version of the magazine versus the U.K. version -- which he/she calls "outdated".

Another observation: paid apps are more highly rated than free apps. This may seem counterintuitive, but makes sense when you realize that you can only rate an app if you have downloaded it. Because of this, a free app can be downloaded and installed, then rated as a one-star app -- even if the owner really is up to some mischief. A paid app, of course, implies a bit of commitment to really owning the app.

Stephen Page, chief executive of book publisher Faber and Faber, has penned a column as part of the Guardian's iPad launch coverage.
The iPad's arrival is unlikely in itself to create a revolution in ebook sales but, like Amazon's Kindle electronic reader before, it will accelerate the reading universe that's coming. That's great news for readers. It should also be good news for writers, as these are genuinely new ways for their work to be discovered, paid for and read. But what about publishers?
He answers his own question here.

The Australian's iPad coverage includes a story about their photographer, Alan Pryke, getting pushed about by security personnel. The video though seems to show that it is the photographer that is being a bit out-of-line, but I suppose this is all a matter of interpretation.

Le Monde also has extensive iPad launch coverage today. One of its stories concerns Apple's Steve Jobs and his stated goal to keep porn off the iPad. It's a bit of an old story by now, but current for the French since the device became available for purchase today.

The story recounts both sides of the issue, but misses one point: Apple seems more interested in keeping the app store clean than it is good. That is, Apple continues to let developers spam the store with worthless apps while at the same time declining apps from legitimate publishers who happen to show more flesh than Apple approves of. Apple is coming off as not only puritanical but hypocritical, as well. (I've already proposed that Apple adopt a channel manager approach where they employ channel managers who have industry -- in this case, media -- experience. I've also volunteered for the job. No word yet on my start date.)

Le Monde's main story about the device mentions that the devices success is caused not just based on the device's merits but by the shocking lack of competition.

Lack of perspective: reaction to the sales figures announced by Wired following the release of their iPad app seem to lack perspective. Wired bragged yesterday that it had sold 24,000 copies of its first app which contained the June issue of the magazine. Some seemed to imply that the revenue of this -- $84,000 net after Apple's commission -- was insignificant (no link because that would reward the post).

But 24,000 additional copies for a magazine that has a circulation of 531,491 is close to a 5 percent boost -- in one day, I'll remind you.

One does not know the costs involved with the app, course, though they were probably much higher than others because the Condé Nast unit worked with Adobe (though it is possible, I suppose, that Adobe partnered with the magazine, and therefore there might not have been direct costs).

Saturday morning headline in The Australian: Newspaper industry betting Apple's Jesus tablet can work a miracle.

Over 2,000 news articles about today's international iPad launch are appearing in my Google search. Here are a few more:
• London’s Apple iPad launch Was Crazy
(photo at right courtesy of Wired)
• Montreal Gazette: Canadians snapping up iPads
• Hindustan Times: iPad hits Asian trail, diehard fans queue up across nine markets
• AFP-Paris: iPad-mania as thousands queue for global roll-out