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Economics & Research Blog

Did You Wish the iPad a Happy Fourth Birthday?

Last week was the fourth anniversary of the release of the iPad.

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: April 7, 2014

Last week was the fourth anniversary of the release of the iPad. It was a big deal when they were selling 1 million a month at that time. Now we know that was a humble beginning. Last quarter, they sold 26 million, just under 12,000 iPads per hour! Those 26 million represented a sales increase of 13.5%. Since its introduction, Apple has sold almost 200 million iPads. Apple has been losing market share, actually, but still has the bulk of the tablet industry's profits. According to Gartner Group, Android tablets were about 60% of 2013's worldwide unit sales. More than 195 million tablets were sold then, and Apple had 70 million of them. A good overview of the milestones of iPad history can be found at the idownload blog. The author describes how the iPad expanded the audience for online media and access, and explains how it encouraged his mother to use a computer and the Internet. Another article is from 2010, the CBS News report of the introduction. An analyst from Wired is quoted as saying “it makes the computer disappear.” Essentially, the report conveys the idea that the iPad becomes a book, a magazine, a newspaper, a game, a TV, and almost anything else that can be accomplished with a data stream. There was skepticism in 2010, that this was just another gadget. Some print businesses embraced the concept. They introduced the idea of responsive design for digital content as an essential tool for their client's media deployment strategy. Now all created content needs to deal with the wide range of imaging and communications throughout media formats, from video to packaging to signage. Tablets are not going away, they're getting better. The trends of cloud computing, faster and cheaper broadband, and growing reliance on video, all support future tablet, and smartphone, growth. Are you participating? Is your business a vital partner in making communications work in as many formats as possible? # # #

Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.



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