Apple has recently announced an impressive feat for its new tablet: 3 million iPads have been sold since the device went on sale in the US, a mere 80 days ago. Moreover, software developers have created more than 11,000 apps for the device. "The iPad has emerged as the first tablet computer with mainstream appeal, carving out new product category between smartphones and notebook computers," writes Adam Satariano. And consumers are not the only ones fawning over the iPad: Rupert Murdoch also recently declared his love for the device. "This is a fantastic invention," he said. "It combines the ability to present all forms of media to all people, from 3 year old children to 100 year old men."
Murdoch, who has widely stated his belief that putting free content online was a mistake, surely plans to use the iPad and its apps to boost his newspaper revenue. "The appeal of the App Store has really led to greater-than-expected sales," said William Kreher, and analyst for Edward Jones and Co. The success of the iPad app could be a bellwether of good things for the newspaper industry, and for Murdoch.
Murdoch, who recently put his publication The Times behind a paywall, is clearly hoping to eliminate the free sharing of his newspapers' content. With the overwhelming success of the iPad, Murdoch may be able to insist on readers paying for content via the app without losing too much of his readership.
Moreover, Murdoch does have good reason to support the iPad already: the iPad versions of many of his publications have reported great success. The Financial Times app, which is free, has already been downloaded 130,000 times. While this app, and his Wall Street Journal are currently free, perhaps the success of the iPad will allow him to eventually start charging for his apps.
Furthermore, today's release of Apple's iPhone 4 could also spell success for Murdoch. Apple has already received 600,000 pre-orders for the device and AT&T had to suspend sales a week before the phone's debut.
Murdoch's adoration of the iPad could be indicative of a burgeoning relationship in the future between News Corp. and Apple. While many have predicted the failure of Murdoch's paywall, perhaps a relationship with Apple would allow for Murdoch's publications to maintain relevance and continue to grow in spite of the paywall. As Murdoch said "I believe that within 5 years, you'll have many hundres of millions of iPad or iPad-like devices in the world. This is a huge new market." And he surely intends to take advantage of it.