I have found with a mixture of amusement and annoyance this thought that has permeated the blogosphere over the last year or so concerning the iPad. Simply put, the meme that the game is over before it has even begun. Apple won. Everyone else is doomed. Doomed, I tell you.
To those people, may I present a little reality into the Jobsian distortion-field. You see, while tablets are now white hot, while the iPad is the fastest growing electronic gadget evah, when you combine the number of users of tablet with smartphones, (you know, your iPhone, Android and the like) it comes out to only 0.3% of the Earth’s inhabitants as of the end of 2010. That represents about 394 million users total. That number, while quite large falls behind the following:
- Newspaper subscriptions (530 Million)
- TV subscriptions (600 million)
- Landline telephones (1 billion)
- Total PCs (1.3 billion)
- Mobile subscribers (5.1 billion)
Now I’m not saying the market is not growing; in fact it will continue to grow at a pretty heady pace. If it wasn’t growing, there wouldn’t be any interest and the iPad would be another “hobby” like Apple TV. But it is rather ridiculous to call the game before the teams are even introduced. There are plenty of players and plenty of time and room to disrupt the market. Because, to quote Exene Czervenka, “this is the game that moves as you play it”. And there are a lot of groups out there that can play.