One figure that stood out yesterday during the release of the iPhone OS 3.0 was the 30 million iPhones and iPod Touch devices out in the market.
Detailed figures show that more than 17 million iPhones and 13 million iPod Touch have been sold worldwide. Analysts have predicted that Apple will sell between 24 million and 45 million iPhones this year.
It is extremely interesting to see that Apple has bundled the two products together, confirming that the iPod Touch is an iPhone without the phone (and a few bits).
Furthermore, it also shows to some extent that Apple may gradually merge the two categories altogether, phasing out other iPods. The Touch currently comes with 32GB memory. This year's model will pack 64GB and the next one 128GB or even 256GB (that's 2010), which will exceed the top capacity of the older hard disk-based iPod Classic.
The new iPhone also now allow developers to code applications where users can pay for services withing their software, which will bring in more revenues for the developer and Apple.
Worryingly for the rest of the competition, Apple is quickly catching up with others like Nintendo and Sony. Should Apple make micro-transactions popular on the iPod Touch/iPhone platform, it could unlock another massive cash pot bigger than the App Store since it will enable transactions without going through third parties like Paypal.
The DS has sold more than 100 million units over 5 years. Apple reached the 30 million milestone in less than two years. Apple currently occupies 2 percent of the worldwide mobile phone market. A very small fraction but one which is worth much more in terms of revenue per user.
Furthermore the smartphone market reached 160 million by the end of 2008 and that will more than double by 2012 according to analysts, a growing, niche category in which Apple is set to play an increasingly dominant role.
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If Apple follows the same iPod strategy, this year's iPhone will be the last one without unveiled alone. Next year should see at least two models, one of which will be a cheaper, dumbed-down model, just like the iPod mini was in January 2004.