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Happy birthday...iPad.

Three years old this month...

It’s fascinating to observe that the different devices people use to access the Internet shapes their behaviour, and nowadays even though more people than ever are using multiple devices, a clear winner is beginning to emerge.  Twenty years ago, in 1995, if I looked at a log of website visitors to a large company, nearly everyone was using a personal computer.  Just six years ago, in 2007, with the advent of Apple's iPhone, I started to notice that people were accessing the Internet using smartphones, and now about seven percent of all global website visitors are using their smartphones to access the Web.  These phones, with their expensive but efficient Internet access, really are smart and stylish, and they have proved to be incredibly popular worldwide.  In London I rarely spot anybody using an old style mobile feature-phone.  No teenager wants to lose street cred by not having a smartphone and I've even seen school children as young as eight using their iPhones Hindsight is wonderful but it does seem extraordinary that Nokia didn't appreciate that mobile phones would quickly become part of the fashion industry.  Fast moving trends presented a challenge and an opportunity to all mobile phone manufacturers as people aspired to change their mobiles almost as frequently as they bought new coats.  But Nokia didn’t, or couldn’t, keep up, and its phones aren’t in fashion any more If that seemed fast, yet another interesting change in Internet access behaviour has been happening at over twice that speed, but this phenomenon has been noticed by very few people as for most of the time the altered behaviour is occurring in the privacy of the home.  This behavioural change may be far less public, but Internet access is being transformed, and this trend may have a dramatic effect on the kinds of devices used to access the Internet in the future.  As always, collated global data averages smooth out any significant variations in the different behaviour exhibited by Internet visitors between countries: look at a log of website visitors today and you will find more people on average using tablet devices than smartphones.  That change happened last year, in 2012.  Now people using tablets account for eight percent of all website visitors, one percent more than smartphone visitors.  This is a remarkable change and that crossover happened in just two years.  Did you know that this month is only the third anniversary of the appearance of the first commercially successful tablet computer?  If you can't remember, it was on the 3rd April 2010 that the first Apple iPad was launched.  Initially, only a WiFi version was obtainable, with iPads which connected to telephone networks becoming available nearly a month later.  So tablet use has overtaken smartphone use very quickly – tablets are very much in fashion. The chart on the left hand side above clearly shows the wide variation between countries in the percentage of people using smartphones and tablets to access websites.  This data, like those global average figures I’ve already quoted, is derived from the Adobe Digital Index.  The data has been aggregated from over 100 billion visits to more than 1,000 websites made in the last year.  What is notable is that people in the U.K have adopted tablet computers at a much faster rate than any other country – 25% faster than the U.S. and twice as fast as France and Germany.  I know from previous research that the most popular tablet is Apple's iPad, and that the preferred way of buying any tablet in the U.K. is directly from a brand's own retail outlet.  That means that much of iPad’s triumph is down to the 36 Apple Retail stores that are spread strategically across the U.K.  Being able to buy something easily and conveniently is usually central to the marketing and sales success of any product.  For Apple, their early lead in creating the tablet market came just in time, they were starting to lose out heavily on smartphone sales to their rival, Samsung.  And that same rivalry now appears to be happening with tablets.  According to IDC, Apple still has a 43.6% share of tablets shipped in the last quarter of 2012, down from a 51.7% share of tablets shipped in the last quarter  in 2011.  Samsung, by contrast, only had a 15.1% market share in the final quarter of 2012 but they had doubled their growth from 7.3% in the last quarter of 2011.  The intense competition between Apple and Samsung has led to a suite of lawsuits as Apple tries every tactic to block Samsung's speed to market with similar smartphones and tablets to its own.  Viewed by many, especially patriotic Apple fans, Samsung appears to be a copy-cat lacking in originality.  But whatever your feelings on the matter, you have to admit that Samsung has showed considerable innovation in being the first to market “phablets” that are a cross between a tablet and phone.  In reality a smartphone with a bigger screen, but not quite as big as the screen of a small tablet device.  Samsung's success in this area has opened up the market for in-between devices, and we’ll see a lot more of those throughout 2013.  Among all the comments about the on-going rivalry between Apple and Samsung there is virtually no mention that what we are also witnessing is a battle between entirely different production methods.  Apple concentrates on designing hardware and software and outsources virtually all its production to the gigantic Foxconn factory complex in China.  Samsung takes a completely different approach and is a vertically integrated manufacturer, determined to own as much of the process as possible.  So this is really a battle of business philosophies as well as, perhaps, a conflict between eastern and western cultures.  Now that Samsung is getting more sophisticated in its design and software production, will its manufacturing skills and capacity prove to be a winning advantage or could it be an encumbrance?  I think it was no co-incidence that the world's largest screen manufacturer opened up the market for in-between size phablets.  Portable computer devices have always been a trade-off between screen size and weight.  Whatever happens this year I'm expecting to see the introduction of more in-between screen sizes as all manufacturers continue to experiment with novel devices utilising the trade-off between optimum size, weight and usefulness.  Since the introduction of tablets like the iPad, many people who own both a laptop and a tablet find they don't use their laptop anywhere near as much as they used to.  Why?  Because the tablet is a much lighter and more portable alternative, with a “big enough” screen, which is more than adequate for the most common tasks.  It’s also usually faster to get an Internet connection on a tablet.  Paradoxically, despite the fact that laptops are lighter today than they ever have been, they are now perceived as too heavy to carry for many tasks.  The data for the chart on the right concerns U.S. tablet behaviour and comes from comScore TabLens product.  It usefully demonstrates that tablets are now being used everywhere in the house, with the bedroom being the favourite place.  The living room is a close second and it is here that more than half of the people studied use their tablet whilst simultaneously watching TV.  Note how the kitchen is also becoming a place to access the Internet.  What this data doesn't show is that between a quarter to a third of people also use their tablet computers in the bathroom.  When people use a highly mobile device like a tablet or smartphone to access the Internet it means that they are highly likely to be involved in some other task at the same time.  Multitasking is already starting to affect online shopping behaviour.  As people increasingly use multiple devices, online conversion rates have fallen although sales have increased.   People in the U.S. and the U.K. share a common desire for their computing to be simple and easy.  According to a UK survey of tablet owners by CSS Insight, 60% of the people surveyed said their tablet is now their main Internet browsing device, compared to only 28% who still prefer to use a laptop or desktop computer.  The primary reason for preferring to use a tablet was said to be portability (55%) and convenience (45%), because these devices really are lighter and easier to use anywhere, just as the comScore U.S. data shows.  Owning a tablet means that you are more likely to use that device more often for social networking (44%) than a personal computer (21%) or even a smartphone (16%).  Tablets are rapidly becoming the most popular computing device ever.  The same CSS Insight U.K. survey revealed that 44% of tablet owners already have two or more tablets in their home.  It now seems obvious: if a computing device is lighter, it is also easier to carry, and if the screen size is adequate, then it quickly becomes the preferred device.  If the device also uses an ARM processor, as most tablets do, the battery is likely to last all day, unlike many Intel-based laptops.  Very few owners of smartphones or tablets know that the microprocessor that makes these devices possible is designed right here in Britain, in the university city of Cambridge.  So where do we go from here?  Will the phablet become the new favourite Internet access device, or could there be some other completely novel product hiding in the wings? April 2013  
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Happy birthday...iPad.

Three years old this

month...

It’s fascinating to observe that the different devices people use to access the Internet shapes their behaviour, and nowadays even though more people than ever are using multiple devices, a clear winner is beginning to emerge.  Twenty years ago, in 1995, if I looked at a log of website visitors to a large company, nearly everyone was using a personal computer.  Just six years ago, in 2007, with the advent of Apple's iPhone, I started to notice that people were accessing the Internet using smartphones, and now about seven percent of all global website visitors are using their smartphones to access the Web.  These phones, with their expensive but efficient Internet access, really are smart and stylish, and they have proved to be incredibly popular worldwide.  In London I rarely spot anybody using an old style mobile feature-phone.  No teenager wants to lose street cred by not having a smartphone and I've even seen school children as young as eight using their iPhones Hindsight is wonderful but it does seem extraordinary that Nokia didn't appreciate that mobile phones would quickly become part of the fashion industry.  Fast moving trends presented a challenge and an opportunity to all mobile phone manufacturers as people aspired to change their mobiles almost as frequently as they bought new coats.  But Nokia didn’t, or couldn’t, keep up, and its phones aren’t in fashion any more If that seemed fast, yet another interesting change in Internet access behaviour has been happening at over twice that speed, but this phenomenon has been noticed by very few people as for most of the time the altered behaviour is occurring in the privacy of the home.  This behavioural change may be far less public, but Internet access is being transformed, and this trend may have a dramatic effect on the kinds of devices used to access the Internet in the future.  As always, collated global data averages smooth out any significant variations in the different behaviour exhibited by Internet visitors between countries: look at a log of website visitors today and you will find more people on average using tablet devices than smartphones.  That change happened last year, in 2012.  Now people using tablets account for eight percent of all website visitors, one percent more than smartphone visitors.  This is a remarkable change and that crossover happened in just two years.  Did you know that this month is only the third anniversary of the appearance of the first commercially successful tablet computer?  If you can't remember, it was on the 3rd April 2010 that the first Apple iPad was launched Initially, only a WiFi version was obtainable, with iPads which connected to telephone networks becoming available nearly a month later.  So tablet use has overtaken smartphone use very quickly – tablets are very much in fashion. The chart on the left hand side above clearly shows the wide variation between countries in the percentage of people using smartphones and tablets to access websites.  This data, like those global average figures I’ve already quoted, is derived from the Adobe Digital Index The data has been aggregated from over 100 billion visits to more than 1,000 websites made in the last year.  What is notable is that people in the U.K have adopted tablet computers at a much faster rate than any other country – 25% faster than the U.S. and twice as fast as France and Germany.  I know from previous research that the most popular tablet is Apple's iPad, and that the preferred way of buying any tablet in the U.K. is directly from a brand's own retail outlet.  That means that much of iPad’s triumph is down to the 36 Apple Retail stores that are spread strategically across the U.K.  Being able to buy something easily and conveniently is usually central to the marketing and sales success of any product.  For Apple, their early lead in creating the tablet market came just in time, they were starting to lose out heavily on smartphone sales to their rival, Samsung.  And that same rivalry now appears to be happening with tablets.  According to IDC, Apple still has a 43.6% share of tablets shipped in the last quarter of 2012, down from a 51.7% share of tablets shipped in the last quarter  in 2011.  Samsung, by contrast, only had a 15.1% market share in the final quarter of 2012 but they had doubled their growth from 7.3% in the last quarter of 2011.  The intense competition between Apple and Samsung has led to a suite of lawsuits as Apple tries every tactic to block Samsung's speed to market with similar smartphones and tablets to its own.  Viewed by many, especially patriotic Apple fans, Samsung appears to be a copy-cat lacking in originality.  But whatever your feelings on the matter, you have to admit that Samsung has showed considerable innovation in being the first to market “phablets” that are a cross between a tablet and phone.  In reality a smartphone with a bigger screen, but not quite as big as the screen of a small tablet device.  Samsung's success in this area has opened up the market for in- between devices, and we’ll see a lot more of those throughout 2013.  Among all the comments about the on-going rivalry between Apple and Samsung there is virtually no mention that what we are also witnessing is a battle between entirely different production methods.  Apple concentrates on designing hardware and software and outsources virtually all its production to the gigantic Foxconn factory complex in China.  Samsung takes a completely different approach and is a vertically integrated manufacturer, determined to own as much of the process as possible.  So this is really a battle of business philosophies as well as, perhaps, a conflict between eastern and western cultures.  Now that Samsung is getting more sophisticated in its design and software production, will its manufacturing skills and capacity prove to be a winning advantage or could it be an encumbrance?  I think it was no co-incidence that the world's largest screen manufacturer opened up the market for in-between size phablets.  Portable computer devices have always been a trade-off between screen size and weight.  Whatever happens this year I'm expecting to see the introduction of more in-between screen sizes as all manufacturers continue to experiment with novel devices utilising the trade-off between optimum size, weight and usefulness.  Since the introduction of tablets like the iPad, many people who own both a laptop and a tablet find they don't use their laptop anywhere near as much as they used to.  Why?  Because the tablet is a much lighter and more portable alternative, with a “big enough” screen, which is more than adequate for the most common tasks.  It’s also usually faster to get an Internet connection on a tablet.  Paradoxically, despite the fact that laptops are lighter today than they ever have been, they are now perceived as too heavy to carry for many tasks.  The data for the chart on the right concerns U.S. tablet behaviour and comes from comScore TabLens product.  It usefully demonstrates that tablets are now being used everywhere in the house, with the bedroom being the favourite place.  The living room is a close second and it is here that more than half of the people studied use their tablet whilst simultaneously watching TV.  Note how the kitchen is also becoming a place to access the Internet.  What this data doesn't show is that between a quarter to a third of people also use their tablet computers in the bathroom.  When people use a highly mobile device like a tablet or smartphone to access the Internet it means that they are highly likely to be involved in some other task at the same time.  Multitasking is already starting to affect online shopping behaviour.  As people increasingly use multiple devices, online conversion rates have fallen although sales have increased.   People in the U.S. and the U.K. share a common desire for their computing to be simple and easy.  According to a UK survey of tablet owners by CSS Insight, 60% of the people surveyed said their tablet is now their main Internet browsing device, compared to only 28% who still prefer to use a laptop or desktop computer.  The primary reason for preferring to use a tablet was said to be portability (55%) and convenience (45%), because these devices really are lighter and easier to use anywhere, just as the comScore U.S. data shows.  Owning a tablet means that you are more likely to use that device more often for social networking (44%) than a personal computer (21%) or even a smartphone (16%).  Tablets are rapidly becoming the most popular computing device ever.  The same CSS Insight U.K. survey revealed that 44% of tablet owners already have two or more tablets in their home.  It now seems obvious: if a computing device is lighter, it is also easier to carry, and if the screen size is adequate, then it quickly becomes the preferred device.  If the device also uses an ARM processor, as most tablets do, the battery is likely to last all day, unlike many Intel-based laptops.  Very few owners of smartphones or tablets know that the microprocessor that makes these devices possible is designed right here in Britain, in the university city of Cambridge.  So where do we go from here?  Will the phablet become the new favourite Internet access device, or could there be some other completely novel product hiding in the wings? April 2013  
Click here to download the PowerPoint chart: Click here to download the PowerPoint chart: