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Perhaps the best known company for introducing new and “must-have” items has just come out with its latest: Apple’s iPad. This giant iPhone or small computer offers a 9.7-inch screen, making it a large mobile device. The product performs basic computing, uses the same interface as the iPhone, provides a larger screen for multitasking, connects to a 3G wireless network, and offers an e-reader as well.

Almost all of the 150,000 applications available on the iPhone also can run on the iPad, which is a tremendous advantageous for those apps that are easier to use on a bigger screen. It does not do much for those designed specifically for the small iPhone screen though. For example, product browsing through an application might be easier to use on the iPad, but some basic apps will appear to have block-like text on the larger screen.

Various companies are developing apps specifically for the iPad, and expect even more to do so if the iPad becomes the device of choice rather than laptops. Nike’s latest application, “Nike Football + Coach Edition,” allows soccer coaches to help train athletes. Other companies are excited for the advertising exposure that will result from the iPad. That is, because the device has a larger screen, mobile ads can be more complex and offer increased functionality. As of 2009, mobile ad spending was $416 million, but that number is likely to increase.

Making an ad for a new device is not as simple as copying the content and design. Screen size greatly affects the customer’s experience. Just as companies have developed mobile Web sites for mobile telephones, which make it easier for the user to get information quickly, an application developed for a tiny screen would look very basic and probably ugly in a larger format. As they increase in number, iPad users will likely demand the ability to see more options and achieve greater functionality.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why would a consumer buy an iPad?
  2. Why would companies advertise on the iPad?

Walter Mossberg, “Laptop Killer? Pretty Close,” The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2010; Suzanne Vranica and Emily Steel, “iPad to Launch with Payload of Ads,” The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2010.