The Verizon distribution for iPad is an unexpected development. Coupled with distribution through AT&T stores, and rapidly expanding retail points of purchase, it seems that the iPad is destined to be the most widely distributed product Apple sells. The iPod never reached operator points of purchase and the Mac is orders of magnitude more constrained.
What seems to be happening is that Apple is pulling out all the stops and going for unrestricted iPad distribution. This may also foreshadow unrestricted iPhone distribution next year. It may also portend a CDMA iPad (or at least an LTE version) next year.
If it happens all estimates for next year need to be revised sharply. I had been expecting 100% growth for the iPad and 50% growth for the iPhone. These might need to be increased to 150% and 100%.
The consequence could be that total iOS devices sold could top 150 million for calendar 2011.
In the last article on the share of PCs highlighting the unwillingness of market analysts to categorize the disruptive iPad as a PC I imply that Gartner does not “get it”.
This is partly willful and partly instinctive. The willful ignorance is due to a belief that their customers (IT managers mostly) do not want to hear about the iPad as a viable technology. Certainly there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that the iPad is unworthy of consideration as a business tool.
However, there is also increasing evidence that IT does in fact get it. I have met several senior IT managers who are whispering that the iPad will change everything. For us to decide which way the wind blows, we need to think harder about the process by which technology gets adopted in large IT organizations. Understanding how the technology is hired by IT managers to improve their career prospects unveils who wins and who loses in IT.