The iPad Is Selling like Mad And Making The Competition Sad

At the iPhone 5 event held on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, Tim Cook announced these facts regarding iPads:

1) Last quarter, Apple sold 17 million iPads.
2) Apple sold more iPads than any PC manufacturer sold of their entire PC lineup.
3) Apple has sold a total of 84 million iPads since its launch in April 2010, less than two and a half years ago.
4) Competitors have launched hundreds of tablets to compete with the iPad. One year ago, the iPad had 62% market share. Today the iPad’s lead has grown to 68% market share.

Five Observations:

First, all the action, all the growth in computing is in mobile devices. As for the future of computing, in my opinion, smartphones will have the bigger numbers, but tablets will have the bigger impact.

Second, neither Apple, nor HP, nor Dell, nor Lenovo, nor Acer, nor any one else who makes a living selling computing hardware cares a whit about whether you call the iPad a PC, a computer, a media tablet or a toy. That’s all just meaningless semantics. What they do care about is that Apple is selling more and more $500 (and up) devices while they are selling less and less.

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value” ~ Marshal Ferdinand Foch

Third, Apple is just crushing the competition in this all-important new category. Starting with nearly 100% market share in 2010, it was inevitable that Apple’s overall market share would drop as seemingly every other manufacturer on the planet started selling this new, and rapidly growing form factor. So to see Apple’s market share GROWING after a two and a half year span is simply mind blowing.

Fourth, Google – and therefore Android – has, in my opinion, completely missed the boat in tablet computing. Andy Rubin and Google stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that there is a fundamental difference between smartphone apps and tablet apps:

“I don’t think there should be apps specific to a tablet…if someone makes an ICS app it’s going to run on phones and it’s going to run on tablets.” ~ Andy Rubin

Apple just announced that there are over 250,000 iPad specific apps in their store. Developers don’t create apps for kicks and buyers don’t buy iPad specific apps for no reason. There is a difference between a smartphone app and a tablet app. Apple gets it. Google doesn’t.

Android tablet manufacturers have paid the price for Google’s misstep as the lack of tablet specific Apps has cut the ground out from under their tablet efforts.

And with the introduction of the Google Nexus 7, Google has all but ended any hope that any Android manufacturer – other than Google – can make a profit on Android powered tablets.

Fifth, when you see the above numbers, you can see how very desperately Microsoft wants and needs to be in this sector. Microsoft Windows rules the notebook and desktop markets but they have nothing going on in phones and tablets…yet.


The future of computing is in tablets. And right now, Apple owns that future.

Published by

John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?

16 thoughts on “The iPad Is Selling like Mad And Making The Competition Sad”

  1. “There is a difference between a smartphone app and a tablet app. Apple gets it. Google doesn’t.”

    “With the introduction of the Google Nexus 7, Google has all but ended any hope that any Android manufacturer – other than Google – can make a profit.”

    John, the first statement seems to imply that Google won’t be successful with tablets but the second one seems to say that it will be. Please explain.

    1. @Rich
      Define successful. Google will sell millions of tablets and they will make some money on advertising and services.

      I don’t see a contradiction in the statements.

      The first says the tablet ecosystem will be second rate until it gets purpose built applications. That doesn’t mean no one will make money. Just that it will be held back from better things by a weak ecosystem.

      On the second statement, the implication of Nexus 7, is that it completes the hardware race to the bottom. Hardware vendors will all operate near zero margin on Android tablets now (including Google) but Google makes money selling services/advertising, not HW, so only Google will really make money on Android tablets.

    2. This was supposed to be a quick-take, so I didn’t go into any depth, but let me try to quickly explain.

      Prior to the introduction of the Nexus 7, Android tablets were not competitive with the iPad. I believe that one of the reasons – if not THE reason – for this underperformance was their lack of tablet specific apps. That has not changed and it will continue to haunt Android tablets until it does.

      The Nexus 7 now makes it difficult, if not impossible, for any other Android manufacture to even compete in the 7 inch table space. Further, the Nexus 7 has not addressed the absence of tablet specific apps.

      I’m writing a short piece on this which I expect to post tomorrow or Thursday. I’ll try to elaborate on this answer and address your questions more specifically at that time.

  2. Bought my first iPad two weeks ago. The iPad Air is everything I want in a table plus more, a lot more. It is amazing how smooth and fluid it is. It comes as no surprise from someone who used Samsung tablets for the past year. Forked OS, touchwiz eating up your resources, OS that is never updated? No, thanks. All I need is a table that is beautiful, works flawlessly and fluidly, is instantly updated and is lightweight. The iPad Air is my first Apple product and is worth every penny. MacBook Pro, here I go! Bye bye my dear schizophrenic windows 8.

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