iPad ready for the big launch with exclusive apps, 30,000 free books, adult content

Analyst Katy Huberty with Morgan Stanley said suppliers for the iPad have currently forecast 2.5 million iPads to be shipped from March to May 2010: Apple would ship between 8 million and 10 million by the end of 2010. This number is much higher than the expectation of 5 million that was forecasted so far. The upward revisions to iPad build rates “point to strong initial pre-orders.”

While video demonstrations of the iPad software including Safari browser, iBooks, Keynote, Pages and Numbers have been posted on Apple’s Web site, with videos that show many uses of the iPad, including its ability to be docked and utilized as a digital picture frame, how are Apple and the developers community preparing to the iPad launch?

Firs of all, Apple “acquired” the iPad trademark from Fujitsu. Actually, Apple was granted the trademark just a few weeks before the iPad is scheduled to go on sale. It is not detailed in USPTO filings whether Apple paid for the trademark assignment.

iPad specific apps

Apple has begun approving applications for the App Store. Developers have chosen to label their iPad applications as “HD” or “XL” versions to distinguish them from their iPhone and iPod touch counterparts. The new software is specifically written for the 9.7-inch display on Apple’s forthcoming hardware — in other words iPhone and iPod touch users will not be able to access iPad applications from those devices.

Despite Apple push in their iPad Human Interface Guidelines to provide “Universal” apps that will run independently of the platform, developers have chosen to make the iPad a profitable venture. Making “universal” apps would effectively get all advantages to the users that have bought an app already to get an iPad specific version of the same app for free: quite a bonus and a great sale point for Apple, but a business suicide for any developer that would never see a good percentage of its profits.

In addition to iPad-specific software, the new device will be able to run virtually all of the existing App Store software, which has more than 150,000 applications.

Apple also appears to be preparing to sell explicit content for both the iPad, the iPhone and iPod touch. By enabling developers to publish “explicit” software titles in the App Store, Apple will provide the potential for digital interactive magazines, comics, and games that present adult subject matter to audiences that want them while also enabling parents to prevent access to such content within iTunes’ preferences.

iBooks: a great catalogue of free books

The iBookstore represents Apple’s entrance into the e-book market. Since the iPad was announced, publishers have used their price negotiations with Apple to leverage Amazon into accepting higher prices for hardcover bestsellers on the Kindle e-reader. While Kindle bestsellers previously have sold for $9.99, Apple’s deal reportedly sets them slightly higher, between $12.99 and $14.99.

Citing an anonymous source, MacRumors on Monday reported that iTunes 9.1 will replace the existing “Audiobooks” section in the iTunes Source list with the more broad “Books” category. Users will be able to sort and sync books they purchase through the iBookstore on the iPad when connected to the iTunes desktop client via a USB cable.

Apple has already listed more than 30,000 free books from Project Gutenberg into its new ebook store for the upcoming iPad. The Gutenberg library of free digital books is supported by volunteer efforts, which maintains a huge collection of literature in the public domain. These books are a lot more popular then one would initially imagine: Apple is preventing any attempts by third parties to profiteer on literature in the public domain, as it has been done on the iPhone App Store.

According to DigitalBeat, the self-publishing service Smashwords has signed a distribution deal with Apple to put books on the iBookstore, which will be a part of the iBooks application, available as a free download on the iPad through the App Store. Mark Coker, chief executive of Smashwords, announced the agreement in an e-mail to authors who use the service. Through the service, authors receive 85 percent of net sale proceeds from titles, or 70.5 percent of affiliate sales. The report said the cost to distribute a book on the iPad is free.