Retail in Asia

In Trends

Apple’s iPad boots up market for accessories makers

A month before Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet computer is due to ship, accessory makers are already lining up cases, batteries and other products in the hopes of profiting off the device.

Since Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad last month, hardware makers have hurried to design chargers, sticker covers and other accoutrements.

The moves show how an entire ecosystem of new hardware is ready to spring up around new Apple products. While Apple in recent years has spawned cottage industries of new software businesses – particularly around its iTunes App Store – the accessory business around its gadgets has also thrived and driven the growth of many third-party manufacturers. According to Piper Jaffray & Co.’s estimates iPod and iPhone accessory sales – including cases, headphones and chargers – totalled about USD3.7 billion world-wide in 2009.