New iPad Owners Explore Apps on Opening Weekend

With the much anticipated launch of the iPad this past weekend, how did users spend time on their new devices? Localytics reports that iPad usage began shortly after East Coast Apple and Best Buy stores opened at 10 am EDT.

As users played with their shiny new iPads on Saturday, many went straight to the App Store, anxious to quickly download and try apps. Apple announced today that it sold 300,000 iPads on Saturday and owners have already downloaded 1 million apps. App publishers using Localytics for iPad and iPhone analytics saw a similar burst over the weekend. Usage came from both iPad and iPhone apps, with nearly half of the apps active on the iPhone on Saturday also showing initial usage on the iPad.

App usage surged throughout the afternoon, peaking around 9 pm, similar to findings in a previous iPhone analytics study. While iPhone app use is typically similar on Saturdays and Sundays, the intense use on Saturday gave way to more modest usage the remainder of the Easter weekend – peak hourly usage was 1/3 lower on Sunday. Average session lengths on Saturday were 30% shorter than Sunday.

For publishers that had iPad apps ready to go at launch, they appear to have capitalized on the opportunity to get their apps in front of early adopters. While iPhone apps run on the iPad in regular or double pixel mode, early use of these apps on the iPad was a fraction of those apps specifically designed for the iPad.

The implication to publishers is that if they are serious about playing in the iPad space and have not yet launched an iPad version, accelerating these projects will be important to take advantage of early enthusiasm and build a position among the many iPad apps in the App Store.