Startup general interest

iPads, the incredible pace of change and tablet opportunities

By October 5, 2010 2 Comments

As you may have heard the iPad has had the fastest adoption rate of any consumer electronics ever.  To put some numbers on that it, took just 80 days to sell three million units and the current sales rate is 4.5m units per quarter.  That compares with the one million units the iPhone sold in its first quarter and the 350,000 units sold in the first year by the DVD player, the most quickly adopted non-phone electronic device all according to CNBC.  An adoption rate made more remarkable by the iPad’s $600 price tag.

The iPad is the latest in a string of devices to set rate of adoption records and the speed with which new products penetrate individual markets AND spread internationally is testament to the ever increasing pace of change – a trend that favours the nimble startup.  Tablets were the stuff of science fiction as little as a couple of years ago and the next new thing will come upon us even faster.

Which brings me on to my other point today.  At this rate of sales and sales growth the iPad will pass gaming hardware and the cellular phone to become the 4th biggest consumer electronics category with sales of $9bn next year (according to Bernstein, again from CNBC).  TVs, smart phones and notebook PCs are the three biggest categories.

With that many iPads around, and presumably a good slew of sales from all the other tablet devices that are coming to market, there will be huge demand from consumers for tablet optimised apps and services and from device manufacturers for innovations that will differentiate their products.  The key difference between tablets and earlier generation computing devices is of course the user interface, and this is the most obvious place to look for for further developments – at the software and hardware levels.