As people began queuing outside Apple stores ahead of the iPad launch at 8am tomorrow morning, Australian companies including NAB, Borders and St George announced today that they would be among the first to have iPad apps available on launch day.
Australian newspaper titles such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian, as well as local magazines including Sport & Style, Men's Health, Women's Health and GQ Australia, also plan to have iPad apps available soon after launch.
The ABC's free app was developed by a mobile team inside ABC Innovation and while it's still not quite finished, the public broadcaster said it planned to have it available on Apple's App Store within weeks.
ABC opted to create a whole new design from scratch to suit the iPad's large 9.7-inch screen, as opposed to simply scaling up its existing iPhone app.
Users will be able to access national and local news, entertainment stories and selected programs from ABC Television and Radio. ABC's podcasts and 90-second news bulletins are also accessible from the app over WiFi or 3G connections.
Live radio streams of Radio National, News Radio, triple j, classic FM, ABC Dig Music, ABC Country and ABC Jazz are also available.
"If you go to one of our radio stations and then you decide to navigate from the radio content area to a new content area or to read an At The Movies review, you can continue to listen to radio [in the background]," ABC mobile producer Manuela Davidson said in an interview today at ABC headquarters in Ultimo.
Davidson said her goal was to create a "brand new", "tacticle" user experience that took full advantage of the iPad's touch capabilities. The content is laid out in "film strips" that can be cycled through horizontally with the swipe of a finger.
Users are able to enter their postcode and then receive their local news, weather and ABC1 program guide information.
Although extensive video will be offered through the app, users will have to wait a little longer for the full iView catalogue they enjoy on their desktops or laptops.
Also coming in a future update to the app is the ability to stream ABC's television channels live. Davidson said this update would come closer to the middle than the end of the year but would not be any more specific.
"When we started working on the ABC iPad application we didn't even have our hands on an iPad yet," Davidson said.
"The very first day it was released in the US our head of strategic development was queuing there - I think she was the fourth person in line in New York and she brought back two iPads for us.
"That changed everything for us in terms of how we should approach the user experience and navigation."
Davidson said the ABC was in discussions with other manufacturers about creating apps for other platforms like Google Android.