The next 100 million iOS devices

As iOS crosses 100 million units sold 3 years after the platform launched, it’s time to look forward to the next 100 million. My expectation is that well over 100 million iOS devices will sell during 2011, but even during the next 12 months (2H ’10 and 1H ’11) the total may well reach 100 million, making 200 million installed by June 2011 very likely.

Here is where the numbers will come from:

iPhone: Assuming only 50% growth (half of the average growth seen so far) gives 50 million units in the next 12 months.

iPad: 15 million base assumption

iPod: This is the most difficult to predict, but 46 million iPods will sell with a growth rate of -8% to -9%. If we consider the iPod touch part of the mix to be 40%, we get 19 million.

The total with these assumptions would be 84 million. A slightly higher growth rate for the iPhone would easily push the total to 100 million.

200 million devices in four years is quite a feat. Compare it to the growth of television which reached 50 million Americans in the first decade after commercial launch. Or consider the Netscape browser which only reached 50 million in its first four years or AOL which just crossed 20 million or in Japan where i-Mode reached 40 million users in the same time frame.

At 200 million, the iOS platform will be 18% the size of the world-wide television audience.

  • kevin

    I think you're correct that 200m is within reach by June 2011. It would be a major feat.

    Another number to estimate is how many iOS devices are being retired, though I think most retired iPhones just become iPod touch. Most of the original iPhones have been retired, and some fairly high percentage of iPhone 3G may soon turn into iPod touch.

    • That's the whole problem with estimating the replacement/retirement rate. Some are destroyed, but unlike most cheaper phones many old iPhones can still be used as music players and browsing and used for apps. I would guess 50% of 3 year old devices would be completely out of use, growing to 75% of 4 year olds and 100% after 5 years.

  • Tom Ross

    In the case of iOS devices, retirement hasn't mattered too much so far because the vast majority of devices were sold very recently. Apple crossed 30 million iOS devices in March 2009 AFAIR, so 70 % of iOS devices are less than 15 months old.

  • davesmall

    Gartner estimated that the number of PCs installed worldwide just passed the 1 Billion mark within the last two years. I would guess that PC have twice the life expectancy of smart phones.

    It will be a few years before Apple's iOS devices in use outnumber PCs but it is starting to look like a reasonable possibility. Because of software integration with iTunes I have most all of my apps, music, videos, contacts, calendar items, etc. on all my devices. If I were to switch to another manufacturer I'd have to repurchase a lot of that stuff. I think that probably makes me a captive customer.

    • 1 Billion PCs sounds reasonable. I think mobile phone accounts is probably around 5 billion.

      "According to the International Telecommunication Union, we’re likely to see 5 billion cell phone subscriptions this year, on a planet with around 6.8 billion people. At the end of 2009, the total was 4.6 billion."

      Plenty of people left who haven't got iOS devices.

  • Gandhi

    Graph is a bit misleading. Y-axis should be labeled "units sold" rather than "users"

    • In the case of AOL, i-Mode, iTunes and Netscape it's users. In the case of the hardware products it's units.

  • kevin

    It's possible that Apple will release an iOS-powered AppleTV by fall as well. That device could also possibly have both ad-free subscriptions, iAd-viewing subscriptions, or iAd-sponsored shows. Apple has been searching for a way to get TV/movie content; ads is one way to do so, and to subsidize the cost of the device.

    The new AppleTV could also have a camera for use with FaceTime.

    • This reason is why an investment in Apple is a good idea. Stocks rise and wealth is made from investment when the unforeseen happens. I showed in this article what can be foreseen: a doubling of the iOS base in 1 year. What is not foreseen is the new products that Apple could launch which will spin an even wider and stronger web. These new products are the real "bet" that Apple investors should be making.

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