The original iPad sold more than 15 million units in 2010, prompting Jobs to claim that Apple had 90 percent of the tablet market. Some analysts quibble on this large figure, but most agree Apple has at least 80 percent share to this date. If that’s not a competitive advantage we don’t know what is. Devil’s advocates will say it’s the early days yet and the ceiling for tablet unit sales remains high, giving HP, RIM, and Microsoft Windows 7 and Android tablet makers time to catch up.
The Price Differential
While tablet makers HP, RIM and Samsung race to get new tablets into the market, the iPad is revving its second generation for launch March 11. Motorola launched its Xoom tablet earlier this week, but it costs $799 without a contract, or $70 more than the original iPad. While that was to be expected, the Xoom, which was developed with premium features in anticipation of the iPad 2, is now in a pickle because Apple is selling the iPad 2 at the same prices as the original. With the exception of 4G network upgradeability, Motorola’s justification of pricing based on premium features is offset by the iPad 2.
100 Million iPhones and Counting
Android may lead the market in sheer smartphone volume, but Jobs reported that Apple shipped 100 million iPhones since 2007, easily more than any smartphone ever. That’s a crowning achievement, showing consumers’ affinity and passion for the Apple brand. Apple haters, perhaps including some Android lovers, are gagging on this fact.
The 350,000 Advantage
Can you guess what the 350,000 number in the title refers to? Yes, it’s applications, as in Apple’s App Store sports more than 350,000 applications. Jobs pointed out that 65,000 of those exist for the iPad, compared with 100 for Google’s Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" built for tablets.
Money, Money, Money
So what did some of those 350,000 Apple App Store apps translate to for developers. Oh, just $2 billion in pay-outs Apple made to programmers. The App Store paradigm presents a 70-30 split for Apple to developers, so that would make the App Store incredibly profitable for the company—almost $5 billion.
Jobs didn’t just single out Android and other smartphone and tablet platforms. He reserved some stats to swipe at Amazon. For example, he said more than 100 million books have been downloaded from iBooks for consumption on iPads and iPhones. Amazon won’t release its numbers, leaving Jobs to suggest Apple had an advantage here. However, it is worth noting that Amazon has sold 115 Kindle books for every 100 paper books, making it easily the largest online book seller in the world.
One other significant statistic is that Apple has logged 200 million accounts for its iTunes store, spanning iTunes, iBooks and applications. That is a mobile commerce clearinghouse that dwarfs even eBay’s PayPal unit. "Amazon doesn’t publish their numbers, but it’s likely this is the most accounts with credit cards anywhere on the internet," Jobs said. Meanwhile, Google struggles to build a mobile payment platform to make it more of an e-commerce play.
Jobs concluded with this gem: "Our competitors are looking at this like it’s the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive. The hardware and software need to intertwine more than they do on a PC." His argument is that tablets based on Android, where the software is developed by Google and the hardware by Motorola, Samsung and others, will never be as good or successful as the iPad. Jobs here essentially applied this same argument for why the iPhone apps platform is so much better compared with devices built with Android, Windows and other systems: that Apple’s approach of delivering a tightly controlled system of hardware and software works.