The Apple iPad has sold 1 million devices in its first 28 days, reaching a major milestone that took twice as long for the iPhone to achieve. It’s in part due to the iPhone’s success that the iPad was even able to make such swift strides, along with the hype driven around the iPad’s release earlier this year. While the tablet mobile device is not a new concept in the least, Apple’s innovative design and leveraging of its existing consumer base and mobile OS has given the company the opportunity to experience something of a first-mover advantage.
Apple has really done its thing with the iPad, setting the bar rather high in consumer’s eyes. The current success of iPad sales has perhaps stunned the consumer electronics industry, sending some manufacturers back to the drawing board. But the iPad is similar to the iPhone in another way–its trend-setting archetype has spurred that same industry to come up with more impressive devices that could one day rival the iPad itself.
Driving competition within the consumer electronics industry is something Apple does quite well, putting a great emphasis on the research and design behind every device it makes. With its accompanying marketplace for device extras, software and virtual goods through iTunes, Apple retains a good amount of control over its devices and their compatibility. This has its upsides and downfalls, but it’s another way in which Apple can maintain the monetization of its consumer activity.
The ability to do so is something that has been enhanced with the developments applied to the mobile market. The past few years has brought a great deal of progress to the mobile industry, with devices becoming better connected to wireless networks, shrinking in size and becoming more interactive. Mobile phones have morphed into our personal assistants, and the iPad has helped usher in an expanded interest in consumer electronics, particularly with a media-centric slant.
The expedited competition within the consumer electronics industry has already begun, with Microsoft scrapping its Courier tablet plans, and HP revamping its design for the upcoming “Slate” tablet. This response to the success of the Apple iPad indicates the coming months’ landscape for the consumer electronics market, especially as it’s applied to future options for buyers.
CNN Money is already warning against “copycat iPads” that may look nice but have sub-par features and software, noting the balance between touch-screen devices and new trends regarding their usability. The expectations around mobile devices, and their makers’ capacity to generate revenue from the platforms used on these mobile devices, have generated a frenzy that isn’t likely to subside any time soon.
Yet Apple’s current dealings with the FTC also show the dark side of gaining too much control over a given platform. The FTC is looking into Apple’s ban of Adobe Flash, questioning Apple’s ability to self-govern the way in which it operates its devices and their platforms. If potential competitors such as Microsoft and Google are really looking to Apple as the one to test the waters, they’re surely taking note of thepitfalls Apple has had to avoid thus far.
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