iPad is Apple’s Newest Opportunity for Branding

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Pretty soon you’ll see a bunch of iPads walking around, to the delight of application developers the world over. The iPads themselves won’t have grown legs, but the pre-order sales exceeded 100k in the first two days, heightening the anticipation around Apple’s latest family member. And with the official release of the iPad just around the corner, we’re seeing some of that anticipation emerge in the form of apps we can expect to see on the iPad.

eBook readers, for one, are of particular interest regarding the iPad. Amazon and Barnes & Noble have both released news of their upcoming iPad apps. Engadget notes some of the features we can expect from the two eBook readers, both of which are taking advantage of the iPad’s larger screen. The intention of both apps is to also make reading and purchasing of books an easy task with the iPad. The question of Apple’s intentions, however, remain a concern. Will Apple allow the eBook readers to flourish on the iPad, or will they be blocked or limited in some way, due to their overlap with books sold directly through Apple’s iTunes marketplace?

While these Amazon and Barnes & Noble won’t be revealing their iPad apps on launch day, and were not among those companies privy to an early look at the iPad for testing purposes, both of these companies recognize the potential for selling their products on the media-centric iPad device. While Amazon even has its own Internet-connected Kindle for mobile reading, it was quick to release an iPhone version of Kindle in order to take advantage of a platform that is likely to see a steady dominance over its own device’s presence.

Dealing with Apple, however, can be an entirely different story. For the iPhone, Apple has been relatively strict about the apps it approves for the iTunes store. Sometimes a denied app comes with no explanation from Apple regarding the reasons for its rejection. Those apps that compete in a more direct sense with Apple’s products can be turned away at Apple’s doors. We’ve seen this with Google Voice, and even aspects of Amazon’s Kindle app (i.e. redirecting to the online version of the Kindle store instead of accessing it directly through the app).

However, it would seem that Apple would be more willing to open its doors for a broad app store with even broader products. The iTunes App Store offers the dual benefits of reducing research and development time for apps, and making money from the apps sold through Apple’s marketplace. Though Apple’s been more strict than Google in its mobile platform implementation, the company still seems to be moving towards a more cooperative stance. Apple recently hinted at a new category for Adult apps, which were previously banned all together. And the iPad release itself gives way to a more media-focused long-term goal for Apple, which would require an increasingly compromising position in terms of partnerships with content producers, owners and distributors.

It is this compromise that will ultimately lead to a dominance in the personal media industry, especially as it continues to span multiple devices with overlapping functions. Google is also going after industry dominance, particularly as it spreads its presence through its mobile Android platform. Though Android on cellular devices has not made much of a dent in iTunes’ kingdom, Google TV’s upcoming support of Android will move the mobile platform further into consumer electronics. Televisions that run apps will invite a new kind of developer, and new kinds of media apps.

As such, the iPad has become Apple’s new opportunity at appealing to consumers, developers and media partners, with one sweeping move. Having such a dedication to personal media and its consumption, Apple is shifting its focus just enough to take it into a very wide realm. Ensuring the brand is a welcoming and encouraging one is important for Apple at this step in its long term journey in maintaining its reign.

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