Chris Whitmore predicted 2.0 million iPads would be sold in 2010 soon after the product launched. (asymco | Analysts predict iPad sales)
“We believe Apple’s lead in the tablet market will prove difficult to close by the onslaught of competing products coming over the next several quarters,” he writes in a note to clients issued early Monday. “Ultimately, we expect the slew of upcoming competition to fall flat from a user experience standpoint while struggl[ing] to materially undercut the iPad on price.”
How far ahead is Apple (AAPL)? According to Whitmore:
- 12-18 months in content (see chart)
- 2 or more years in terms of other media acquisition and integration via iTunes
- Untold dollars in terms of component pricing
via iPad lead seen as ‘overwhelming’ – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech.
Compare this fresh (re-)assessment with the following points I made in May of this year:
The iPad comes with an even bigger value chain [than the iPod] bolted on: the App Store. Apple is flogging not just an “app player” but also a new way to develop and distribute software. If you cut “music” and paste “apps” you see the immediate parallel between iPod and iPad. The app ecosystem will quickly grow to be larger than the music ecosystem with the mobile software business already eclipsing the music business.
So the iPad challengers face five daunting obstacles:
- Recognition of a threat from a seemingly benign product
- Execution on hardware against the best integrator on the planet
- Execution on software against a new UI metaphor fortress surrounded by a patent moat
- Integration of hardware and software to a sublime whole
- Re-building a value chain for which they have no handle vs. a broad and deep existing universe of app/content creation distribution and consumption enjoying logarithmic network effect value.
Welcome to the club, Chris.