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2/3/2010
01:25 PM
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Apple iPad Sparks Interest In Enterprise Apps

But work remains before large companies can embrace the iPad and iPhone without worry.

Apple iPad Launch in Pictures
(click image for larger view)
Apple iPad Launch in Pictures

The introduction of Apple's long-anticipated iPad last week has amplified the already considerable interest in mobile applications and the iPhone.

Apple SVP of iPhone software Scott Forstall predicted a new gold rush, an echo of the frenzy that has created 140,000 third-party apps in less than two years.

Companies that develop iPhone applications -- and soon iPad applications -- for corporate clients, suggest that there may be something to the marketing hype.

Joshua Greenman, president of Mercury Development, a custom application developer based in St. Louis, Mo., said he'd seen a flurry of new interest in iPad apps and continued interest in the iPhone.

"When the iPhone first came out, there was an exceptionally high demand from both sophisticated and unsophisticated clients," he said. "As the platform has matured, we're seeing more sophisticated clients and less unsophisticated ones."

He attributes the waning interest from unsophisticated clients to the recognition that custom application development can be complicated. "The best thing that businesses can do if they're considering developing an app is to write out a detailed spec and think it through before they communicate with a company like ours," he said.

Marine Leroux, CEO of Bamboudesign, a firm that just announced a mobile application design and development service for advertisers, corporations and entertainment companies, also sees rising interest in mobile applications, particularly on the iPhone. "The reason we got into this business was because of the market opportunity of the iPhone," she said. "It's the Internet all over again."

Just as companies realized that they had to have Web sites in the 1990s, Leroux anticipates that mobile applications will become a necessity. "One hundred forty thousand apps isn't that much compared to the number of businesses in the world," she said. "I think the day will come when the App Store has one million apps. There's a lot of space for growth and companies are trying to get into it."

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