Apple’s latest gadget, the iPad tablet, is off to a solid start, with more than 300,000 already sold. And it’s a really nice device, we can confirm after spending a good chunk of the last two days with one.
Indeed, it may represent the future of portable computing… someday, maybe.
But the real story for Apple right now — and at least for the next few years — is still the iPhone.
For developers, it’s still the only opportunity at Apple right now to sell MILLIONS of copies of a mobile app. The iPad will take a year or more to reach 5 million users. But the iPhone and iPod touch have more than 75 million users. That has allowed thousands of companies to make money from their apps, whether paid, ad-supported, or financed by virtual goods.
For Apple and its investors, it’s still the biggest revenue generator and biggest growth driver, and that’s not going to change soon. The iPhone generated 35% of Apple’s revenue during the December quarter, with iPhone segment growth up 90% year-over-year. With the iPod touch included, it’s even more impressive. (Apple sales grew 32% year-over-year as a whole during the December quarter.)
So that’s why, despite all the buzz around the iPad right now, the more important events are Apple’s iPhone OS 4 preview this Thursday, and its WWDC keynote, where it’s expected to unveil a new, better iPhone in June.
Staying ahead of Google Android, RIM, Microsoft, Palm, HTC, Nokia, and other mobile companies — and growing the iPhone business — is Apple’s priority for the next several years. The smartphone market is still the bigger opportunity than the tablet market. Whatever happens with the iPad is gravy.
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