Seven years after the iPhone was launched, 70% of the US population is using smartphones

“Seven years after the iPhone was launched, 70% of the US population is using smartphones,” Horace Dediu writes for Asymco. “Smartphones existed before the iPhone so the category is older than seven years but as far as adoption goes this is nearly the fastest ever.”

“The CD Player reached 55% in seven years and the Boom Box about 62%. If measuring the period between 9% penetration and 90% the smartphone in the US will have a lifespan of about 9 years starting in 2008,” Dediu writes. “Before this period, the product was largely experimental and participating vendors mostly failed. After this period most products will be ‘commoditized’ with decreasing margins and increasing consolidation.”

“The rapidity of growth is all the more remarkable given the penetration is at the individual, not household level. The total user base is therefore over 270 million rather than the 115 million usually targeted by consumer technology, nearly 60% more purchases. This is also remarkable because the product has a shorter lifespan of use (two years) than is typical for other consumer technology products,” Dediu writes. “We are therefore now in the ‘Late Majority’ phase of the US market.”

Much more in the full article here.


  1. You’ve moved into the final phase of CE product development when color becomes a primary determining factor; it means you’re running out of meaningful ways to distinguish your product through function.

    Apple knows this cycle. They lived it with iPod. Enter wearables, home tech, fitness.

  2. There’s a pattern here…

    Before Macintosh, personal computers where scaled-down mainframes that worked through a command line interface. Then, Apple created the Mac’s GUI, and once Microsoft copied it, every “PC” was either a Mac or a Mac copy.

    Before iPod, digital music players were more like the Walkman, except they had hard drives or flash for content storage instead of cassette tape or CDROM mechanisms. Then, Apple created iPod. Soon, most music players were iPods or iPod copies.

    Before iPhone, smartphones were scaled-down PCs, complete with tiny keyboards and a stylus for pointing (instead of a mouse). They were geek toys. Then, Apple created iPhone. Soon, most smartphones were iPhones or iPhone copies.

    Before iPad, tablet computers were modified (or “convertible”) laptop PCs running standard Windows. And so on…

    In each case, “innovation” was taking something that is already popular and successful, and “morphing” it into a new market segment. It’s just a form of copying. Then, Apple comes along and shows TRUE innovation, by creating an entirely NEW user experience, optimized for that new product category. And THAT is when the BOOM in popularity occurs; competitors quickly abandon what they have and copy Apple.

    The same thing will happen with smart watches. Because iPhone is so popular and successful, existing products are mostly attempts to down-scale the iPhone interface to fit the wrist. The next BOOM occurs when Apple shows the world an entirely NEW user interface, optimized for this new product category.

  3. What is truly funny is the iHating dorks that continues to say that the iPhone has nothing to do with this. This was all going to happen eventually and all smartphones would look like and work like the iPhone. lol

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