Apple's WWDC: What's New for the iPad?

SAN FRANCISCO -- The iPhone 4 dominated most of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at his company's Worldwide Developer Conference, but there was some iPad news as well.

Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO has often referred to the iPad as "magical." In his keynote Jobs said he received an e-mail from someone who said he had been sitting in a café and the iPad caught the attention of a girl in the place. "So there's proof," Jobs told a laughing audience during his keynote.

He said the iPad would be in 19 countries by the end of July and that so far, there were 8,500 native applications and some 35 million apps had been downloaded, which averages out to 17 apps per user, a healthy number not lost on the audience of developers here. Apple said previously that it has sold over 2 million iPads.

Jobs announced that Apple is updating its iBooks software to add some user-requested features. The first is the ability to make notes, like an electronic sticky page note. People can leave them all over their e-book and the locations of their notes show up in the book's table of contents.

Another feature is the electronic dog ear. Instead of turning down the corner of a page you want to remember, you can add a bookmark to that particular page, and like the notes, they show up in your table of contents and you can jump straight to them.

A third request that was answered was a PDF viewer. PDFs can now be stored on the iPad and appear on the book shelf just like e-books, and viewed in full color.

These updates will all be available for the iPad later this month, Jobs said.

The iPad is a latecomer to the e-books market but it is already making a huge impact. Jobs said that in the 65 days of availability, iPad users have downloaded five million books, or an average of 2.5 books for every user. Five of the six largest book publishers in the U.S. said the share of e-books going to just iPad is 22 percent of the total e-book market.

App Store approval

Jobs took a little time to address the App Store approval process for both the iPad and iPhone. Apple has come under fire for banning certain titles, some due to sexual content while others overlap with features Apple includes in the device. While he didn't address the specific controversies, Jobs did say that of the 15,000 new and updated apps submitted every week, Apple approves 95 percent of them in seven days or less.

And the other five percent? According to Jobs, the top reason they get denied is they don't work. "The app didn't function as advertised and we tell people either make it do as was advertised or change the description," Jobs said.

Reason number two is the app used private APIs (define). If Apple makes a change to the OS, it could break the app in the process, and they don't want their users dependent on apps that all can break every time there is an OS update.

And Jobs said the third reason for rejection is the app crashes. "So if you were in our shoes, you'd reject these apps for the same reason," said Jobs.

There are plenty of App Store success stories. He said Apple, which handles the transactions, has paid out more than $1 billion to developers from purchases through the App Store. "It's one of the greatest things to do, so let's do it again," said Jobs.

One of the biggest returns on investment has to be the one for online auction giant eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY). Jobs showed a quote from eBay CEO John Donohoe that said the eBay app for iPhone did $600 million in business in its first year and will account for between $1.5 billion and $2 billion this year.

Jobs brought out three developers to discuss their upcoming releases. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced Netflix for the iPhone, which would let people view a stream on their phone, pause it, go home, and resume watching on their TV, assuming they had a streaming subscription from Netflix for their TV.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus announced FarmVille for the iPhone, the company's addicting game on Facebook that usually runs on Adobe's Flash player. Zynga rewrote it without using Flash to accommodate Apple's controversial ban of Flash on the iPhone and iPad. People can now maintain their farm wherever they are, and in a nice bit of synergy, Pincus showed a snow leopard among the animals you can buy for your farm. "Snow Leopard" is the codename for Mac OS X 10.6, and the real joke is that it's a wild animal that only lives in the Himalayan mountains.

The final demo was from Activision, which showed its popular "Guitar Hero" for the iPhone due for release later this year.

Notably absent: any Macintosh news. There had been rumors, perhaps hopeful thinking, that a Mac refresh was coming but Jobs didn't mention anything Mac-related -- desktop or notebook -- once.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


iPhone, iPad, Apple, app store, Netflix