Why iPad sales may be reaching 36m/year

The iPad is going to save publishing, adapt education, change corporations and offer newspaper subscriptions soon -- not bad for a product introduced only this year. And all this from a once-declared-dead company where a reluctant Ninja (no he isn't) sits as CEO. Are you sitting comfortably? I'll make this brief.

You telling me the iPad's going to save publishing?

No, it is not me. People like News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch think this. People like Nicholas Coleridge, the managing director of Condé Nast UK, who thinks iPad will contribute as much as 40 per cent of revenue in future.

Coleridge was telling a hand-picked gathering of 300 journalists, advertisers and others about the publisher's digital strategy, while revealing the December launch of iPad versions of the company's UK titles, Wired and Vogue.

"I would expect 70% of our sales to come from print and 30%, or even 40%, to come from products such as the iPad," he said, as reported by The Guardian.

He also noted that around 18 per cent of Wired UK readers already own an iPad.

[This story is from Computerworld's Apple Holic blog. Follow on Twitter or subscribe via RSS to make sure you don't miss a beat.]

What's key here is that you can sell content via iTunes to an audience of users who are already used to being honest, who are used to paying for content, so long as:

  • The price is right
  • The content appeals to them
  • In other words, iTunes users are receptive to high-quality, good content.

This is why people like Murdoch or Coleridge like the Apple platform. It gives them the chance to sell to an audience while preserving better margins. (They hope).

Education, education, education

You want a stupid world, then raise stupid children. That's not quite an axiom but in the education market at least we see some understanding that education is key to the future.

We need to keep our children learning.

But just how can cash-strapped education departments accomplish this?

By using technology to:

  • Reduce overall costs
  • Boost interest
  • Boost involvement
  • And ulitmately boost attainement.

Using technology children already like and are familiar with has been proven again and again to boost educational achievement.

Think back to your schooldays, perhaps they were dull and perhaps if the days had been more tuned to what you found stimulating you'd have learned more. So, the theory goes, stick a text book on an iPad and the child will be far more interested in learning from that book.

That's the theory.

A small test at Notre Dame University recently seems to bear this out, finding that students using iPads are already finding the skills they need to use them effectively, were reading articles assigned to them on the devices rather than printing them out.

Additional benefits -- and these are really important benefits to educators: "Others added that the iPads improved collaboration among team members, [and] helped them stay organized."

Not only that, but schools can save on the cost of textbooks, all students can get the same access to learning materials and more.

And as for the argument that spending money on computers for kids is wasteful, I'll refer to school headteacher, John d'Abbro.

I spoke with John several years ago. He then led a school tasked with teaching 70 children with severe behavioural, emotional and/or social difficulties. He found technology an absolute asset to teaching these kids, and he observed:

"Every time we save a child from jail or a nervous breakdown, we're saving thousands of pounds [or dollars], though I don't think you can put a financial price on some things. There's a child who had problems reading, and I promised him an iPod if he managed to achieve a reading level of 11 years. I was asked if I could justify that, I said if I can spend £50 to convince a child to read, then it's money well spent, as he's more likely to achieve more in his adult future as a result."

iPad changing the corporations

If you're a regular Computerworld reader, you'll have read our rash of articles telling us about the iPad's impact on the enterprise.

If you missed these, then the precis is that iPads are already in use in enterprise shops. You'll see them in the legal profession, for example at law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal where up to 100 of the 800 attorneys around the globe use them. Medical professionals, sales professionals, more -- there's plenty of interest in this lightweight, always-on solution.

That you can also use your iPad in your downtime, play a game or watch a movie on the plane, that adds to the appeal of the lightweight and portable productivity device.

That's the thing, really -- it melds the personal with the productive in a pleasing form. You aren't stuck in productivity forever land, you get the chance to chill out now and then, as well as accomplishing those much required essential tasks. That's why for some business users the iPad really is quite 'magical'.

I can hear someone out there screaming, but you can't print on an iPad. Well, actually you can already, but soon it will be a standard fitting. Apple in the last hour introduced the following release, which begins:

"Apple today announced that it is releasing a beta version of its AirPrint wireless printing for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to members of Apple’s iOS developer program today, and that AirPrint will be included in the free iOS 4.2 software update in November."

There you go.

Mourning papers? No need, iPad saves

Well, once again the jury's out here. I'd suggest the challenge for the news-driven newspaper industry is to get the news to digital print faster than the Internet can. And for that I'd humbly suggest newspaper publishers may need to return to the notion of fully-staffed teams of investigative journalists to dig out those stories the world doesn't know about yet.

Failing this, publishers are optimistic that offering versions of newspapers such as The Times, New York Times, Guradian or Wall Street Journal (why not Heat magazine?) will be widely accepted by the iPad-using public.

Unfortunately, Apple held this up. It hasn't yet enabled publishers to set-up subscription-based services via their iPad apps, but this apparently seems set to change.

(The road block, incidentally, has been that Apple has been unwiling to grant newspapers access to the same kind of customer data via iTunes that they'd expect to access in the event they offered their own subscription services.)

Last month Apple enabled People magazine to give their subscribers the iPad editions for free. Now The Mercury News tells us Apple will soon announce a subscription plan.

Apple has agreed to implement an opt-in function to allow subscribers to share their personal information with publications.

iPad exploding this season

Look, as far as I'm concerned you can bleat on all you like about Android-powered iPad competitors and Windows-powered slates, and netbooks come to that: At present -- and I'm only being honest here, not simply an apocryphal Apple-holic -- Apple rules the tablet roost.

This is unlikely to change when the most competitive device yet, the Android-powered Samsung Tab has been announced as costing around $1,200. Who, other than the biggest Phandroids, will pay that much for that device?

Apple is already estimated to be selling in excess of two million iPads every month -- and it looks like it may be approaching three million a month (that's 36 million per year) soon.

Why do I think that?

This Digitimes report published a few hours ago tells us Taiwan-based Cando, a subsidiary of AU Optronics, will begin shipping 9.7-inch touch sensors for the iPad in September or October. It will manufacture a million a month.

Add that to the c.2 million production iPad is already alleged to have achieved, and you have three million. Three million iPads per month, in line with one analysts predicted production rate.


Because everyone wants one. Because the iPad and its apps are whatever you want it to be -- this appears to be the experience of using the device in multiple industries.

Finally, Apple CEO Steve Jobs yesterday was reported to have been stopped at Japan's Kansai International Airport in July as he was returning home from a family vacation on his own private jet. He was stopped because he had throwing stars(Shuriken) in his luggage, which a report claimed he had to throw away.

Apple PR denied this yesterday, with the statement,

"Steve did visit Japan this summer for a vacation in Kyoto, but the incidents described at the airport are pure fiction. Steve had a great time and hopes to visit Japan again soon."

However, the notion that the Apple CEO has a little Ninja inside has captured the imagination, to the extent that the first YouTube clips showing the mercurial Apple boss in action have appeared:

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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