The iPad lost: smartphones won

The iPad lost: smartphones won
The iPad lost: smartphones won

Recent updates to the iPad seek to revitalize its sales, but global preference leans firmly toward smartphones, according to the latest market studies. (Manzana)

When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPad 14 years ago, he said there was a place for a third device that would be between a laptop and a smartphoneas long as that intermediate gadget did some essential tasks better than each of the others.

For some of you, the iPad It’s exactly that. It is more convenient than a phone or a computer to watch videos of Youtubesend an email or distract the children.

On Tuesday, Apple introduced updated models of iPad with which he hopes to encourage his sagging sales. The company also boasted of its artificial intelligencean area where the company is under pressure to prove itself.

But the iPad has not spread as much as computers and, above all, smartphones. As the iPhone and other smartphones became more capable, larger, and ubiquitous around the world, they made the iPad irrelevant.

Many of you love your iPads. Gorgeous. Even technology that does not reach its expected potential can still be useful. The device may have changed your habits, but neither it nor other tablets have had a broad impact.

The history of the section shows that technology founders like jobs, revered for seeing the future, sometimes make mistakes. It’s a useful lesson when executives like Elon Musk either Sam Altmanof OpenAIthey launch predictions about the future of transportation or AI.

Months after the debut of iPad In 2010, Jobs made an analogy with cars and trucks.

Personal computers, he said in an interview, would continue to be useful to many people, but would become increasingly niche, as trucks became once Americans moved to cities and fewer people needed a work vehicle at work. The farms.

(Probably, jobs (he was not referring to light trucks like the pickup trucks and SUVs that dominate the U.S. consumer vehicle market.)

The visionary said that it was difficult to predict the future, but he believed that the iPad It could become a mass consumption device, as cars were for personal transportation. But not so much.

Steve Jobs predicted a promising future for the iPad as a mass consumer device, but the incontrovertible rise of smartphones has redefined the technological landscape, relegating the iPad to a more secondary role. (REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach)

The smartphonesincluding his own iPhonehave become the way billions of people connect to the Internet and browse, talk, read, watch, listen and socialize.

He smartphone It’s the car. The laptop and the iPad They are more like trucks. You can see it in the figures.

About 1.1 billion new ones are sold around the world every year. smart phones. About 260 million computers were sold last year, according to the research company IDC. In 2023, almost 130 million iPads and other tablets, according to estimates IDC.

IDC’s research director, Jitesh Ubranistated that, thanks to a shopping binge iPads Related to the pandemic – which also affected computers – there are slightly more people with the devices today than when sales of new ones peaked a decade ago.

Still, billions of people use smartphones. At most, a couple hundred million people have a iPad. IDC expects the number of tablet users to increase slightly at most.

Walt Mossbergthe pioneering personal technology journalist who worked for the Wall Street Journal and Recodetold me that the best way to measure the impact of iPad it’s stealing time that people, including him, would have spent on laptops.

(Mossberg and Kara Swisher starred in the 2010 interview in which Jobs made the car-truck analogy.)

Mossberg said that long before he retired from his day job in 2017, he preferred his iPad for many tasks other than note taking and writing. He estimated that he used his laptop at least 50% less thanks to his iPad.

Still, Mossberg said, the smartphone is “the true personal computer” for him and the world.

Estimate how much you use your laptop Mac a couple of times a week, your iPad a couple of times a day and iPhone Many times a day. He used his iPhone to email me while I was waiting for a doctor’s appointment.

Despite innovations, the iPad struggles to find its place in a world saturated with advanced smartphones. (Manzana)

The failed prediction of Steve Jobs Over the iPads seems relevant now, when technologists are betting that AI will turn the smartphone on a more niche device.

Altman He is one of the people who believe that the smartphone and more tasks will be left in the hands of specialized AI voice assistants on devices that will be worn like glasses or brooches.

We’ll see. I find it instructive that Jobs did not say in that 2010 interview what became true: that the smartphone -and not him iPad or the laptop – became the first computer used by billions of people.

That calls for all of us to be careful when predicting what the next technological success or niche could be.

Washington Post

Shira Ovide writes The Washington Post’s The Tech Friend, a newsletter about making technology a force for good. She has been a technology journalist for more than a decade and wrote a technology newsletter for the New York Times.

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