A playland for applications in the tablet world

Tech trend

Now those developers are about to get a bigger stage — or at least a bigger screen. The tablet computer that Apple is widely expected to introduce on Wednesday will run applications designed for the iPhone, judging from data that an app-tracking company is picking up from devices in use around Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
But the larger screen — most likely 10 inches diagonally — and other features of the tablet could inspire developers to create new twists on apps, like games that two or more people can easily play at once on the same device.

Bigger share
Other developers of iPhone applications see the tablet as a way to grab a bigger share of the wider software market. Some analysts estimate that the App Store generates as much as $1 billion a year in revenue for Apple and its developers, and a larger device is likely to expand that pie.

There are indications that Apple may want the tablet to run some business-oriented applications that require complex interactions with the screen. A former Apple designer has said programmers at the company were developing a multitouch version of iWork, Apple’s equivalent to Microsoft’s Office software suite. Apple has declined to discuss any plans for a tablet.

It is not known how many of the more than 100,000 applications available for the iPhone will run on the tablet. A tablet may also bring changes to the economy of the App Store, where developers who choose to charge for their applications face market pressure to keep prices low, said Marc Strohlein, an analyst at the market research company Outsell. Many of the most popular paid apps sell for 99 cents.

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