Apple sets March 27 deadline for first iPad apps

Most iPad developers may not yet have touched the actual device, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy working away on software for Apple’s newest invention. But, according to an e-mail obtained by Macworld, if you want your iPad application to have a chance of being in the App Store for the iPad’s arrival, you’d better have it ready for Apple’s review by March 27.

The e-mail, sent to registered iPhone developers, says that only apps submitted for review by this deadline will be eligible for “the grand opening of the iPad App Store.” While no official date is given for that debut, it’s a good guess that it means April 3, the day the iPad arrives. It also suggests that the iPad will have its own section of the App Store, distinct from iPhone and iPod touch applications.

Submitted applications must be built with the iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 5, the most recent version of Apple’s developer tools, and must be digitally signed and uploaded to iTunes Connect by Saturday, March 27, 5p.m. PT in order for consideration. Fulfill those requirements and Apple’s App Review Team will take a look at the program and let you know if your app is ready for the iPad.

While the iPad will run almost all of the more than 150,000 applications already available in the App Store, it’s clear that iPad-specific applications, such as those shown off at the iPad’s debut in January, will be far more powerful and versatile.

Developers have struggled with writing software for a device they haven’t seen other than in videos and pictures, leading some to wonder if iPad-specific apps would be available when the tablet shipped. At least Apple has finally provided an answer to that question, even if it's not exactly the ideal solution developers might have hoped for.

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