Why Apple’s iPad Is Under-Hyped

by Randy Murray on March 18, 2010

April 3rd.

That’s the big date.

It’s not the Singularity. But it does herald a major shift in the way that ordinary people interact with computers. And if that isn’t enough, I believe that the iPad and its successors will transform not just computing, but several other major and seemingly unrelated industries.

Here are my predictions and a timeline:

  1. April 3rd, 2010. The iPad is released. All units sell out that day. Supplies stay tight through the summer.
  2. September 2010 – over five million units have sold worldwide. Amazon’s Kindle numbers are not reported publically, but remain around one million units. Sony’s e-reader has completely stalled.
  3. Last half of 2010. Other manufacturers release their versions of tablet or slate computers, most of them running the Windows 7 operating system. Their sales are almost too low to count.
  4. January 2011. Version 2 of the iPad is released. Over 10 million units of version 1 have been sold worldwide. Electronic book sales surpass hardback book sales in total dollars with Apple outpacing Amazon’s eBook sales.
  5. October 2011 – Dell and HP drop their tablet computers and begin focusing exclusively on business computers and servers. iPad sales pass 100 million units by the end of this year.
  6. 2012 – Cisco attempts a late entry into the consumer/home media server market. They will exit a year later. Apple introduces a series of iPads with sizes up to 50 diagonal inches, intended to be wall-mounted and to replace conventional televisions.
  7. 2013 – The last major US city daily newspaper ceases daily print production. Several “name brand” papers like the New York Times survive, but as online versions only, primarily supported by iPad subscription sales. The third generation of iPads brings new size and function options, as well as much lower pricing. The entry level unit is priced at $149.
  8. 2014 – the “Big 4” television networks cease scheduled broadcast entertainment. Everything is now on-demand or a live event like sports or news. The iTunes Store is now the leading sales channel for music, books, movies, and TV. Amazon sales are now primarily consumer goods with book and music sales comprising less than 20% of their sales. They remain a clearinghouse for used goods as the Amazon Marketplace grows in sales and revenue impact.
  9. 2015 – printed books are now considered luxury items, with the exception of children’s books. Electronic comic books and graphic novels reach new heights of sales and creativity. Movie theaters have a resurgence in attendance, but largely due to new interactive features that allow audience members to participate and comment on the movie using their iPads. Showtimes are electronically coordinated worldwide so audience members can share their simultaneous experiences.  Apple announces their next revolutionary product.
  10. 2020 – the shake-out in the lumber industry is complete. The collapse of the newspapers and end of the majority of printed books has caused lumber prices to plummet.  The use of wood in home and furniture construction is rare. Antique wood furniture skyrockets in price. A much smaller commercial forestry industry begins a very long term focus on developing 100 and 200 year plans for hardwoods.  Planetary reforestation projects begin showing signs of successfully pulling carbon from the atmosphere.

No rocket cars or jet packs; I think my prediction sounds like a very different world, yet one that is only small steps away. Today’s pretty different from 1980, isn’t it? I have no problem seeing things moving three times as fast as they did for the last 30 years, so it’s not so hard to think that my imagined future could happen.

In fact, if anything, I’ve been far too conservative. The future’s bright. Where are my Virtual Light sunglasses?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hal Brown March 18, 2010 at 10:14 am

You may be right about all this except number 9. Book lovers love real books, and they have for centuries. I have a Kindle, and frankly it (or an iPad or any e-reader) does not have to qualities of a printed book. I don’t base this only on what I think – book lovers like the feel, the smell and the charm a books.

For every gain there is a loss, for every loss there is again. This explains the resurgence of vinyl records and a predictable anti-gadget movement.

Reply

2 Randy Murray March 18, 2010 at 10:17 am

I’m a big lover of physical books, but I think that their continued mass production is a matter of economics. I think that within a few years it will simply not be economical to mass produce printed books.

I think that for the foreseeable future, there will be printed books available, but they will become increasingly expensive. Like LPs, they stick around, but they are a very niche market.

Thanks for commenting!

Randy

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3 Lucinda Sage-Midgorden March 18, 2010 at 10:36 am

I love your predictions. There will probably be many more advances that we haven’t even dreamed of yet.

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4 Randy Murray March 18, 2010 at 11:33 am

You’ll note that I singled out children’s books. I think they have a long future – physical, tactical, ideal for grubby little hands!

Plenty of time for more books from you and Barry! https://www.createspace.com/3410265

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5 Richard March 18, 2010 at 11:10 am

Interesting, and I’d agree with it if not for my concern that Kunstler’s Long Emergency is underway.

I’m not sure business as usual will be happening.

Reply

6 Randy Murray March 18, 2010 at 11:20 am

I’m a bit more hopeful about the future global economic situation. For example, this article, by one of the real gurus of transportation and traffic engineering, lays out why $20 is good for us.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Randy

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