Apple's iPad, iPhone: 10 Factors That Made Them Popular

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-04-20

Apple's iPad, iPhone: 10 Factors That Made Them Popular

If there is one thing that can't be debated in the technology industry, it's that Apple's iPad and the company's iPhone are wildly successful. In fact, Apple said earlier this year that it has sold over 100 million iPhones since the smartphone's launch in 2007. In 2010 alone, people purchased 15 million iPad units around the world. All these sales have combined to help Apple generate billions of dollars from its mobile devices.

But how did the iPad and iPhone become so successful? When they're compared with some of the better smartphones and tablets on the market, it's tough to find many differentiating factors that would make the iPhone and iPad such special devices. Yet, they have enjoyed more success than any other single smartphone or tablet. And the chances of that changing anytime soon are slim.

With that in mind, it might be a good time to examine the reasons why the Pad and iPhone have caught on so well with consumers and enterprise customers alike.

Read on to find out what makes the iPad and iPhone so popular:

1. It's Apple

If nothing else, the success of Apple's iPhone and iPad is due to the company that developed them. Over the past decade, Apple has become one of the most trusted and celebrated companies in the tech space, due mainly to its ability to deliver unique and aesthetically pleasing devices. The iPad and iPhone are no different. The products have become extremely popular around the world because of Apple's continued ability to give customers what they want year after year.

2. Steve Jobs is an icon to some

Though debate can rage over whether or not Steve Jobs is really the best CEO in the technology industry, there's no questioning that he has legions of fans who will buy any product that he promotes. Even more important for Apple, Jobs has the unique ability to captivate audiences, attract media outlets and deliver a level of hype for his products that no other CEO has been able to match. By using all those qualities, and relying upon Apple's hard-core fans, Jobs helped lead the successes that the iPhone and iPad have become.

3. The advent of touch screens

When the iPhone first launched, many who followed the technology industry knew that touch screens were the future. However, few believed that any company in 2007 would be able to make them work as well as consumers would demand. But Apple did just that with the iPhone. And it brought its technology to the iPad to further cement its position in the touch-screen space. Now, if a smartphone lacks a touch screen, it's considered obsolete. Consumers simply expect them. Considering Apple was the first company to deliver a suitable touch screen, it's reaping the benefits of that.

4. Who needs physical keyboards?

When Apple released its iPhone in 2007, it also made it clear that physical keyboards weren't necessarily the future in the mobile market. Steve Jobs and Company viewed physical keys as a relic of the past that wouldn't fall in line with Apple's "cool" branding. So Jobs took a gamble and turned his back on the physical keyboard. He did it again with the iPad last year. By doing so, Apple was able to appeal to consumers who wanted a next-gen product that didn't subscribe to outdated beliefs. Now, with more than 100 million iPhones and 15 million iPads sold later, it's clear that doing so was a smart move on Apple's part.

Price, iOS, App Store Make a Difference


5. The price is right

The iPhone and iPad continue to sell well because they are priced well. The iPhone 4 can be purchased for $199 with a two-year contract. The cheapest iPad is on store shelves for $499. At those prices, consumers and enterprise customers are willing to open their wallets for a device that they feel justifies such a price tag. If the iPhone or iPad were more expensive, they wouldn't be so popular today. And Apple knows it.

6. The competition can't keep up

Android-based devices are flying off store shelves. Most analysts believe that Google's mobile operating system will own a dominant share of the mobile market as early as next year. But on a device-by-device basis, no other smartphone or tablet can compete with the iPhone and iPad, respectively. Some devices come close, and Android lovers would undoubtedly point to the Motorola Droid X or Motorola Xoom as fine alternatives to Apple's options. But for the most part, consumers see that Apple is delivering superior products. Apple's options feature better designs and more-polished software. That's precisely why individual devices can't keep up.

7. Apple's App Store

In 2008, when Apple launched the App Store, many were unsure about how well it would fare. Some said it would be a failure, while others saw it reaching great heights. Now that it's running on the iPhone, iPad and even Mac OS X Snow Leopard it's clear that the App Store has been an unbridled success. More than 10 billion apps have been downloaded from the marketplace since its launch. The App Store keeps consumers engaged with Apple's mobile products. It also helps extend the value of the iPhone and iPad beyond what folks get out of the box. Without the App Store, Apple's mobile devices wouldn't be nearly as popular today.

8. Design matters

If Apple has proved anything over the years, it's that the design of technology products matters. The company's computers are always among the better-looking options in the market. And the same can be said for the iPhone and iPad. Apple's latest iPhone, for example, comes with a glass finish and prominent Retina Display, making it an option that few other devices can match with their own styling. Until other companies can find a way to deliver good-looking products, it's hard to see any vendor significantly hurting iPhone or iPad sales.

9. iOS has been integral

Apple's iPhone and iPad both run iOS, the company's own mobile operating system. More importantly, no other smartphone or tablet on the market is running Apple's platform. That means that if a consumer or enterprise customer wants to run iOS, they will need to buy Apple's smartphone or tablet. That's an extremely important component in the iPhone's and iPad's success. Unlike Android, which can be used on a growing number of devices, iOS is unique to Apple's products. That uniqueness has helped Apple sell more hardware as consumers realize that iOS is arguably the most polished mobile operating system in the business.

10. Outstanding marketing

Apple is one of the best companies in the world at marketing its products. Its commercials are simple, they spark a sense of desire in viewers, and along the way, Apple sees improved sales because of it. In the technology space, it's easy to get caught up in the specifications of a respective device, but how that product-good or bad-is being promoted can mean the difference between success and failure. As one of the most proficient marketers in the industry, Apple has helped its cause in numerous cases. Its impressive iPhone and iPad sales figures are only further proof of that. 

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