Netflix And ABC Launch iPad Apps, Hulu App On The Way

In about 24 hours, Apple stores across the east coast will open and the eager public will finally get a chance to purchase the company's latest computing creation: the iPad. My feelings for the table device have changed dramatically over the past few months, from "It's too expensive, it doesn't do anything I need it to do, it doesn't have flash, and it's kind of lame," to "WANT NOW!"

In the past couple of days, a spate of iPad-related news has whet my appetite even further. Specifically, the iTunes store already has Netflix and ABC apps for the iPad, and a Hulu app is on the way.

The Netflix app duplicates the experience of browsing Netflix on the web, but perhaps most importantly, it streams video through its "Watch Instantly" service to your iPad! In a move that is probably too awesome to be a coincidence, Netflix's Watch Instantly service recently added a ton of television shows to its roster, including Rescue Me, Lie to Me, and the entire series of 24 (you can check them out here if you have a Netflix login). I consider this and Marco Arment's forthcoming iPad Instapaper program to be "killer apps," and I can't wait to get my hands on them.

ABC has also launched an ABC Player app, which allows you to watch recent episodes of some popular ABC shows. While NBC and CBS aren't taking the same app approach, they will have websites that are optimized for iPad, capable of streaming video. In addition, the New York Times recently reported that a Hulu app will be coming to the iPad. In fact, the company might use their iPad app as a way to test their forthcoming paid subscription model. No word on when the app will launch, but with Netflix already available today, the pressure is on.

Apple enthusiasts will know that the Wi-fi enabled iPads will be released tomorrow, while iPads capable of 3G connections will be sold later this month. It's unclear whether these apps will eventually support streaming over 3G, but if they do, my bones can already feel the infrastructure of AT&T's 3G network buckling from the strain.

I will be driving out to the Apple store tomorrow in a (most likely vain) attempt at picking up a non-pre-ordered, non-reserved. Anyone else planning on making the trip?