The iPhone and its Truly Disruptive Nature

Late last month I wrote about the 5 major industries impacted by the iPhone. I listed the PC, Telecom, Music, TV and Health industries that the iPhone helped change and in almost all of these cases it even forced them to change their business models.

While the iPhone impacted the industries above it also had a major impact on some specific products. As the chart below shows, in 2007, the digital camera market was about $6.5 billion. In 2014, it was about $2 billion. MP3 players represented just under $6 billion in 2007, today it is about an $800 million market. Portable navigation systems were hot in 2007 and were just over a $2 billion market; Today it is around $600 million. And Camcorders are all but gone these days. In 2007, they were a $ 2 billion market, and today it is barely an $80 million market segment.

It is remarkable how much the iPhone and smartphones, in general, have changed our world and markets over the last ten years.

But I am also struck by how much it has influenced the distribution of media platforms. As you can see from the chart below, Radio at 93% still has the largest reach when it comes to media distribution, followed by the TV at 89% and then the smartphone at 83%.

To be honest, given how much we look at our phones each day (on average of 80 times) and how central it has become to how we receive and consume information and media, I am surprised that radio and TV are as high as it regards media consumption.

I suspect that if Statista had done this chart based on age demographics, the smartphone would be # 1 regarding media consumption followed by radio and TV.

Another way to look at media consumption, especially news by demographics, comes from my friend Gary Arlen writing for MultiChannel.

In his article, he has this chart above from a Reuters Digital News Report that shares the main source of news by age. But his commentary on this chart is important-

“The infographic (pictured) from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism is intuitive and simplistic. You can easily see that older people prefer TV news, while young audiences go for online and social media. No surprise there. But it’s misleading! True, the “Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017” (unveiled this week) confirms that the screens-of-preference for younger audiences are mobile and dynamic. But identifying the platform does not necessarily tell you the source of the news. Consumers may look at an online or social media site to find reporting from established journalism sources (e.g., CNN, The New York Times, Fox News Channel) or just as easily from ersatz self-proclaimed bloggers or alt-news sources. The 136-page report delves more deeply into the distinction between the reception platforms and the actual content of the news.”

Both of these reports about media consumption underlines how important the smartphone has become regarding it serving as a media distribution medium. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon, especially with a younger generation who daily activities are driven by and centered around their smartphones.

I don’t think I can overstate how smartphones and technology, in general, have really impacted the lives of people of all ages but especially Millennials and the generation of them.
I recently attended a memorial service for a dear family friend who was a pastor-elder in my father’s religious organization and whom my father had become close to when this person was younger. He had influenced thousands of people’s lives, and at his memorial, there were many eulogies celebrating his life.

But what struck me was that almost every one of those under 30 who gave a eulogy read them directly from an iPhone or an iPad. There were no paper notes and there they read the eulogy right from their devices. Now I admit that I too have used my iPad with the teleprompter app when I have done structured speeches in the past but to see this as the main mode for these younger folks to use to deliver their eulogies was really striking for me.

While the iPhone has been a serious disruptor to many industries and changed our culture in many ways, it has only been on the market ten years. With Apple adding AR and eventually VR to their ecosystem portfolio and things like AI, machine learning, IOT and advancements in CPU’s, GPU’s, Batteries and other core technologies driving our digital revelation, I suspect the next 10 years will be even wilder in terms of the role technology plays in disrupting more industries and influencing our culture. Get ready for an even wilder ride over the next ten years.

Published by

Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.

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