Apple announced that it had sold 3 million iPads by June 21, some 80 days after the popular device's release in the United States. In a statement, Apple indicated that the iPad's gradual international rollout remained on track. The popularity of the iPad has ignited the consumer tablet market, according to analysts, who expect that the number of category devices will exponentially increase in coming years. A variety of competitors, ranging from Dell to Hewlett-Packard, are reportedly preparing their own tablet PC offerings, which will likely run either Google Android or a variant of Windows 7.
Apple sold 3 million iPads by June 21, some 80 days after it
launched the popular tablet device in the United States.
"People are loving iPad as it becomes a part of their daily
lives," Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote in a June 22 statement. "We're working hard
to get this magical product into the hands of even more people around the
world, including those in nine more countries next month."
The word "magical" seems to be Apple's fallback adjective in
describing the iPad, which was first unveiled in late January and went on sale
in the United States on April 3. Whether the term truly applies, it seems
that customers have gravitated toward the touch-screen device's model for
consuming multimedia content and performing light tasks. Thanks at least in
part to the iPad's success, analysts from research firm IDC predict that
worldwide media tablet shipments will see a compound annual growth rate of 57.4
percent, for a total of 46 million units in 2014.
"These are early days for media tablets, an altogether new
device category that takes its place between smartphones and PCs," IDC analyst
Susan Kevorkian wrote in a May 20 statement. "IDC expects consumer demand for
media tablets to be strongly driven by the number and variety of compatible
third-party apps for content and devices."
Encouraged by Apple's success-or anxious to not be left
behind in a burgeoning product category-manufacturers ranging from
Hewlett-Packard to Dell are preparing their own competitors in the space, with
many of them evaluating Google Android as a potential lightweight operating
During June's D8 Conference, Jobs suggested that a rough
prototype of the iPad had served as the inspiration for Apple's iPhone, which
debuted in 2007.
"I had this idea about having a glass display, a multitouch
display," Jobs told The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg during
a June 1 onstage session
. "I asked our people about it. And six months
later they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our
really brilliant UI guys. He then got ... scrolling working and some other
things, and I thought -My God, we can build a phone with this.'"
While that process eventually led to the iPhone, according
to Jobs, the iPad itself was apparently shelved until Apple gained substantial
mind- and market-share in the smartphone arena. The proliferation of Apple's
mobile devices among consumers and businesses has been mirrored by an
exponential rise in the number of third-party applications available through
the company's App Store.
Despite the popularity of both the iPad and the iPhone,
though, Apple could face a potential antitrust investigation over the language
of its iPhone developer agreement. Quoting unnamed sources, a May 3 article in
the New York Post suggested that both the Federal Trade Commission and the
Department of Justice were debating whether to open such an investigation.
At issue, apparently, is Apple's mobile applications'
policy, which forbids the use of third-party development tools in the creation
of apps for Apple's App Store. A clause in the developer agreement for iOS4
stipulates that "applications may only use Documents APIs in the manner
prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs," and
as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++,
and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the documented APIs."
In theory, that would exclude tools such as Adobe Flash CS5,
in turn potentially forcing developers to choose between building an
application for Apple or for another smartphone ecosystem-something that
federal investigators could potentially view as unfair competition.