Apple: Apps, Suicides, and the iPad 3

The Apple App store has hit 25 billion downloads and fans are all a-flutter about the anticipated unveiling of the successor to the iPad2 on Wednesday. There's no stopping the Apple juggernaut...

by Thomas Mahon
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

Ah, the hallowed iPad 3. It's the second major product launch after the death of Steve Jobs (the first was only the day after his untimely demise) and will cement the success of Apple's much-vaunted first iterations of the tablet computer.

We don’t actually, definitely know what Apple will unveil on Wednesday, but you can bank on it being a hit. And proving that Jobs' force is still strong with the brand, 87% of Brits surveyed by phone-comparing-site mobilesplease think the new pad should take its creators name. The iPad Jobs? The iPad Steve? The Steve Pad? We’re not convinced.

Apple’s seemingly unstoppable success was underlined over the weekend as the company announced it had recorded the 25 billionth app download from its iTunes App Store. That’s 3.4 for every human being on the planet, including babies in their cradles, still blissfully ignorant of the app frenzy gripping the world.

But they may owe their future employment to the company that invented them. Apple says it has created or supported over half a million jobs in the U.S. alone. A study by Analysis Group says the company has added 304,000 jobs in the US itself, while supporting 210,000 jobs in the app economy. Apple says it has added to employment in sectors as diverse as retail, manufacturing and transportation. And the new iPad will doubtless lead to even more job creation, at the very least security guards and first-aiders to look after the tent cities that are likely to form outside the first shops to carry the product. Perhaps the Jobs Pad would be an apt name after all?

Apple will be hoping that its track record in job-creation will help temper the negative publicity over sub-contractor FoxConn. The Foxconn facility in China, where the company builds Apple goodies, reportedly introduced 'suicide nets' to capture despairing employees flinging themselves from the rooftops. The furore has prompted the firm to introduce the third consecutive pay rise, doubling the take-home pay of most of its staff. 

The launch of the new iPad is not without a few challenges either. If the rumours are true the new device will glory in a 1536 by 2048 HD display. Appleologists say the leaked publicity photos make this clear. But this could be an issue for the app economy, Currently apps over 20MB have to be downloaded over wifi connections, and given the extra graphics quality of an HD display, that is likely to be less bandwidth than most apps will need. Developers worry this will cut down on impulse buys as users wait to get home to download their wares.

With their customary brilliance at promotion, Apple is keeping schtum about this and all other features, and letting the rumour mill do its thing. By far the most out-there whisper on the technology grapevine is that Apple will also be unveiling an Apple TV set. The rumour suggests Jobs found a way to add his magical functionality to the ancient technology.

One thing is abundantly clear, this is a company that can’t stop racking up the hits. The government will want some of those jobs in the UK, but with Apple keeping its European HQ in Dublin it’ll have to be the app economy it focuses on. And one thing remains to be confirmed: will Tim Cook be taking over his predecessor’s role and introducing the product?

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