Notes from SXSWi: iPad – New Opportunities for Content Creators Panel

This was a panel of people from different industries: gaming, print, and publishing and their take on the iPad. Unlike Apple’s existing products iPhone and Macbook, which entered existing markets, the iPad is creating a new market for a device that is neither mobile nor desktop. One speaker defined it as the recliner app or toilet seat app. There are currently 75MM+ iPhone OS (iPhone + iPod touch) devices in the market with a hockey stick growth curve.

The panelists include:

  • Bill Jensen @billjensen, director New Media at Village Voice. 14MM pageviews/week across 14 newspaper sites. 90% of business is local advertising with a 70% growth over the past 3 years.
  • Shervin Pishevar @shervin, CEO of Social Gaming Network, one of the leading social and mobile gaming companies, and over 11 million installs on the iPhone and tens of millions of users on Facebook.
  • Jason Grigsby @grigs, co-founder of CloudFour, a web and mobile development firm.
  • Katherine Tasheff @tasheffka from Hyperion Books

Shervin actually got to spend some time with the iPad and he was amazed at how fast he got used to the virtual keyboard. Pundits question whether or not people would get used to typing on the screen, but Shervin said he was able to get to 85 words per min in 10 minutes. He also noted that the chip is fast and that there is a significant performance improvement compared to the current iPhones. This will translate well into the gaming space.

  • Of the top grossing apps in the iPhone app store – 76% of them are games
  • Estimated to be $30 billion industry by 2013
  • iPad preorders – estimated 51,000 in first 2 hours
    90,000 in the first 6 hours
  • Estimated to be 20MM iPads in the market by 2013

Katherine noted that ebooks already outnumber games in the Appstore. However since most of the top grossing apps are games, one could hypothesize that the phone form factor is not as conducive to reading and that ebook content in general do not perform as well as games. Essentially books haven’t changed since the 1400s. The industry is very slow to change because their model has worked so well for so long. However book sales have declined 5% over the past year. The ebook represents an opportunity for those who can come up with compelling content and experiences that fit the ebook model.

iPad is a great web browser. It’s got a new super fast Javascript engine. It’s resolution is that of a standard browser. It will support the latest CSS and HTML standards. Basically web apps are going to look great on it. This opens up opportunities for developers to make great iPad apps that bypass the Appstore distribution and let them keep their 30%. Also it will lower the barrier to entry as far as having an app for the iPad. Also iPad makes for a great dashboard appliance for scenarios such as the manufacturing floor.

In summary, the three industries see great opportunity since it’s a new product entering a new market reaching potentially a whole set of new users.