New iPad Prompts App Tweaks by Developers

The new iPad is displayed during an Apple product launch event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 7, 2012 in San Francisco, Ca.
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The new iPad is displayed during an Apple product launch event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 7, 2012 in San Francisco, Ca.

Software developers are salivating over prospects for the new iPad, which sold out online within two days of its unveiling and won't ship now for up to three weeks.

Apple had originally set the ship date for March 16. The new iPad goes on sale in stores on a first-come, first-served basis on Friday.

Still the folks behind the $5 billion plus business of games and apps that sell in Apple's App Store are working overtime to either overhaul their apps or create ones that take advantage of the new iPad's improved graphics and performance.

Nicholas Callaway of Callaway Digital Arts, which makes animated and interactive books, considers the higher-definition screen of the new iPad as the "IMAX of mobile."

"Our designers and animators are working day and night to optimize our apps," says Callaway.

He has redesigned two of his most popular apps, featuring Martha Stewart and Sesame Street characters, to take advantage of the new iPad's sharper display. The lower-resolution photos and graphics in the apps need to be adjusted, photo by photo, artwork by artwork, he adds. "We've made this our highest priority."

The new iPad starts at $499 and includes crisper Retina display graphics, a faster processing chip, improved HD video camera, and access to faster wireless 4G networks.

Ge Wang, the co-founder of Smule, which makes music apps for the iPad and iPhone, says that "for the first time a mobile device will have higher resolution than any computer. That's crazy."

His apps have featured real-time music collaboration among players around the world, but only with audio. Now Wang envisions video jams as well.

"You'll be able to see people, instead of just listening, and that's far more powerful."

Epic Games is hard at work upping the resolution of images from its best-selling game Infinity Blade II ($6.99). It won't make it in time for the Friday launch but hopes to get the revised game out very soon.

Epic Games President Mike Capps says the new iPad display is comparable to high-end gaming consoles such as the Microsoft XBox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. "We can achieve a level of realism and detail that has never been seen on a mobile device, or honestly, on any widely available television."

Since the App Store launched in 2008, some 25 billion apps have been downloaded. The App Store skews toward the iPhone, with 585,000 total apps; 200,000 were created just for the iPad.

Apple has paid developers more than $4 billion in royalties since the store launched. Developers get to keep 70% of revenue.