Peter Cochrane's Blog: The iPad and iPhone revolutions presage a deeper turmoil

Can this rate of tech change be sustained and exceeded?


More smartphones and tablets are being sold than PCs, with Apple a driving forcePhoto: lululemonathletica

Written in a bay just off Skorpios in the Ionian Sea and sent to via a 1.2Mbps 3G link the same day.

In my lifetime the rate of technological change has been very apparent. There's no doubt it's accelerating. More smartphones and tablets than PCs are being sold and 550,000 Android devices are activated every day. Those figures bear testament to an incredible feat of design, manufacture, logistics and support.

Throughout my professional life I have attended, organised and run conferences on a changing range of topics. A few weeks ago I attended a US conference that I have supported for over 17 years, where the audience represent all the big IT, defence, banking and government organisations.

Everyone in the room has power and LAN access, and it is the norm for them to be 100 per cent online. Historically, Windows laptops have monopolised this setting, but recently there has been a migration to netbooks, tablets and smartphones. This year it was all very different again.

For the first time, Apple products predominated, with the iPad the most common device. Of the rest, there was only one netbook and a large contingent of Android-powered laptops and tablets. For the first time, Windows laptops were in the minority.

It was a stunning shift. The iPad only launched 18 months ago, and 17 years ago I was one of three or four people in the room using a Mac. In its first month, the iPad sold more than one million units, a figure that has been exceeded month on month. As far as I can see, there are going to be well over 30 million iPads on the ground before the end of the year.

Anyone in high-tech product manufacture will grasp the profundity...