Accessory makers gear up for impending iPad launch

Fri, Feb 26, 2010


A number of companies have made fortunes over the past few years providing accessories for Apple’s mobile lineup of products, whether it be iPhone cases, iPod radios, or external battery packs. So it therefore should come as no surprise that accessory makers are now salivating at Apple’s potentially next big thing – the iPad.

The Wall Street Journal writes:

Since Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad last month, hardware makers such as Griffin Technology, Gelaskins Inc., Sanho Corp. and SDI Technologies Inc. have hurried to design chargers, sticker covers and other accoutrements.

“There are some things we’ve identified as no-brainers,” said Mark Rowan, president of case maker Griffin in Nashville, Tenn., which began drawing up designs for iPad cases and contacting manufacturers within hours of the iPad announcement. “We know people are going to want to protect the device.”

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. estimates iPod and iPhone accessory sales—including cases, headphones and chargers— totaled about $3.7 billion world-wide in 2009.

But not every company is joining in on the fun. Some are taking a more laid back approach and are waiting to see if the iPad truly takes off before deciding to invest resources into products that may or may not have a spot in the marketplace.


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