Since the April 2010 introduction of the iPad, Apple has sold 55 million of the tablets, said Apple CEO Tim Cook during a presentation at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco Feb. 14. Put in context, it took Apple three years to sell as many iPhones, five years to sell as many iPods and 22 years to sell as many Macs.
Asymconf's Horace Dediu, plotting these numbers, put things still a different way in a Feb. 16 blog post: "The iOS platform as a whole reached 316 million cumulative units at the end of last year," wrote Dediu. "The iOS platform overtook the OS X platform in under four years, and more iOS devices were sold in 2011 (156 million) than all the Macs ever sold (122 million)."
Even more simply: In 2011, Apple sold more iOS devices than all the Macs it has sold in 28 years.
Still, Cook suggested Apple could do better. While Apple sold 37 million iPhones during its fiscal 2012 first quarter, said Cook, that means three out of four people in the world bought something else.
He explained, according to transcript from Fortune:
Yes, 37 million is a big number. It was a decent quarter. It was 17 million more than we'd ever done before. And so we were pretty happy with that. But let me give you a different -- at least the way I look at the numbers, which is maybe a little differently than you do.
As I see it, that 37 million for last quarter, represented 24 quarters of the smartphone market. So there's three out of four people that bought something else. And it represented less than 9% of the handset market, so 9 out of 10 people are buying something else. The smartphone market last year was a half a billion units; in 2015, it's projected to be a billion units. The handset market is projected to go from 1.5 billion to 2 billion units. And so when you take it in the context of these numbers, the truth is that this is a jaw-dropping industry. It has enormous opportunity to it, and so up against those, the numbers don't seem so large anymore.
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