Disclaimer: This author has no business relationship with Pyramid Research or parent company Light Reading.
Mobile operators will be among the biggest beneficiaries of the Apple iPad's success, thanks to the iPad's use of mobile data services to access applications and digital content, according to a new report from Pyramid Research (www.pyr.com), the telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications (www.lightreading.com).
Pyramid believes the iPad has created a new mass market for tablet devices. "Early adoption of the iPad has been promising, and device competitors will release products to fit different price points and feature requirements," says Jan ten Sythoff, Analyst at Large and author of the report. "Content is already widely available in a number of forms, including e-books and iPhone applications (both iPhone-specific and iPad-specific), while development of new content categories shows much promise. These factors will drive demand for data access, and the iPad along with similar devices provide a compelling new opportunity for mobile operators to increase data subscriptions and hence revenues," says Sythoff. Mobile operators are already lining up to sell mobile data packages for the iPad. "The first will be AT&T, which will enjoy device exclusivity in the U.S. market, as it has with the iPhone, while Hutchison 3G Austria announced it will subsidize the device on a two-year contract, charging €29.90 for 5GB per month; it will include a 3G/WiFi modem to allow iPads with only WiFi built in to connect to the mobile network."
Apple launched the Wi-Fi-only versions of the iPad in the US market on April 3. It is available with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of memory; the company will launch the dual-mode Wi-Fi/3G versions toward the end of May, in partnership with AT&T. Electronic readers (e-readers) and tablet computers have long been talked about, and several have been launched, with mixed success. Initial announcements suggest that adoption of the iPad will be strong, with launches outside the US delayed by a month because of unexpected demand. Because the iPad is compatible with the iPhone, a wide range of applications were readily available from the start, including a number of iPad-specific applications. Books were available through the iBookstore from many of the major publishers, including Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster.
This Pyramid report analyzes the impact of the iPad primarily on mobile operators, but also on device vendors, publishers and developers. It summarizes the impact the device has already had on mobile communications providers and looks into possible future developments. The report looks at the impact on the device industry, comparing the iPad against other e-reader products, and expected competitor reactions. The impact on the book publishing industry is examined, comparing it to the impact Apple made on the music industry with the launch of the iPod. Pyramid also looks at the impact of the iPAD on other content industries, and the reaction of game developers, online video service providers and newspaper publishers, and how whole new content categories are already emerging.
What impact will the iPad have, given what Apple has been able to do with its revolutionary iPhone device?
Pyramid believes that this new device category will produce a wide range of competing products addressing different requirements, while developers and publishers are faced with an attractive new opportunity for software and content. As a result, we believe that the iPad along with similar devices provide a compelling new opportunity for mobile operators to increase data subscriptions and hence revenues.
Here are a few of their key findings:
1. Product shortages, broad content availability and strong operator interest suggest the iPad will enjoy strong success.
2. As a new device category, the tablet is an attractive opportunity for mobile operators to drive subscriptions and revenue. They can also look to leverage their own application stores by selling their own devices, or partner with other device vendors and gain a portion of the content revenue.
3. Differences between the book and music industries suggest that the iPad and similar devices will not have the same revolutionary impact that the iPod did on the music industry.
4. Content developers and publishers are presented with a new opportunity to distribute content and attract advertisers. Moreover, the iPad and follow-on devices will spawn a wave of content innovation, combining books with games, interactivity, video -and animations.
But we find it odd that there is no mention of the iPads potential to overload 3G networks via massive downloads of books, video and multi-media content. When the iPhone was announced in January, parent company Light Reading had this to say:
Apple's iPad: No Revolution, but a Potential Revenue Driver for Mobile Operators analyses the impact of the iPad primarily on mobile operators, but also on device vendors, publishers, and developers. The 12-page report summarizes the impact the device has already had on mobile communications providers and looks into possible future developments. : This Telecom Insider report is priced at $595 and can be purchased online (http://www.pyramidresearch.com) or through Jennifer Baker via email at email@example.com or telephone at +1 617 871 1910. You may also contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.