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Gap iPad app adds social dimension to iPad shopping as retailers feel their way around new device

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Gap has become one of the first big name retailers to roll out a shopping app in the US specifically for the iPad. Called 1969 Stream, after is range of denim ware – itself named after the year Gap was founded – the app adds a range of social dimensions to the mobile shopping process, such as enabling users to share their videos, photos or Gap merchandise on Twitter and Facebook via the iPad.

As well as the usual store locators and so on, the app –designed and developed by AKQA, a digital creative and technology house, which also developed Target’s gift globe mobile iPhone app that enabled uses to enter gift search criteria and shake an iPhone for a list of suggestions – also features a direct check out facility, that allows customers to click ‘buy’, while still looking at the full screen image of the what they have purchased. The app is also loaded with videos of Gap ads and pictures and videos of celebs wearing Gap clothes.

Compared to other mobile commerce apps, this Gap app (Gapp?) is something of a mishmash of content and offerings and doesn’t appear to be too sophisticated. However, as Julie Ask, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research, says “Like early iPhone applications meant to generate buzz and establish brands and agencies as innovative, we’ll probably see quite a few iPad applications fall into this category.”

“We don’t yet have a good sense of how people are using the iPad—it would typically be too large to carry around unless one had a large handbag or backpack,” she adds. “And it would be second to the phone on -the -go or a computer at home. I would expect that buying behavior on the iPad would be more similar to online than a phone due to its size and form factor.”

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