Orange races to sign iPad deal; but users not lured by apps

France Telecom is making a run at negotiations to acquire the distribution rights for Apple's iPad tablet computer in France under its Orange brand. The CEO, Stephane Richard, while declining to provide pricing details, said the company hoped to leverage its successful experience with the iPhone to win the iPad contract, having sold over 1 million iPhones in France in 2009.

But a study conducted by comScore would indicate that potential users are more likely to use the device for surfing the web or checking their emails, rather than because of the lure of the apps on offer.

The survey, which polled some 2,000 people, stated it was the prospect of web browsing and checking emails that sparked the most enthusiasm--appealing to 50 and 48 per cent respectively--while 37 per cent said they would read books on their iPad, 36 per cent would watch videos and movies and 34 per cent read newspapers and magazines.

Just one in four of respondents said they would download apps to the iPad from iTunes, and more revealingly 36 per cent expressly said they would not--a disappointment for Apple having positioned the iPad as a revolutionary product, and mobile operators for not gaining app revenues.

comScore  did find that previous experience with iTunes or ownership of an Apple product made a big difference to whether people would be prepared to pay for apps or content should they invest in an iPad. In fact, people were twice as likely to pay for newspaper and magazine subscriptions specially formatted for ebook readers if they already owned an iPhone or iPod.

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