The incredible “ecosystem” behind iPad’s success

iPad has been described as the most successful consumer product launch in history. In the 9 months since launch Apple sold 15 million iPads, more than every other tablet PC ever sold added together, with $9.5billion in sales. It a c.90% share of tablet PCs.

Watching Steve Jobs keynote on the iPad 2 launch got me thinking about the reasons for this incredible success. Inspiration came from a concept used by the folks at Logica Business Consulting. The key to iPad's success is what Logica Business Consulting call a whole "ecosystem". As Jobs says, "The hardware, software and applications intertwine".

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1. Amazing product, getting even better
: the success of iPad starts of course with the design of the product itself. And Apple are repeating the relentless revitalisation they've used on the iPhone to upgrade the product one year after launch with iPad 2. This is twice as fast, has 2 cameras and manages to be 1/3 thinner than iPad 1. And at the same price.

2. The App Store: beyond the product though the second part of the iPad ecosytem is the App store. There are now a total of 350,000 apps, with 65,000 of these specifically adapted to make the most of the iPad. The success of the app store attracts more developers, creating a spiral of success. Apple has paid out over $2billion to app developers so far.

In contrast, if you've bought an Android-powered device such as a Samsung Galaxy Tab you have a choice of…. 100 tablet-specific apps.

And the iPad apps are not just games and fun stuff. The Apple video shows how iPad is being used by hospital doctors, school teachers and businesses. All this further extends the iPad ecosystem.

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3. Apple id accounts: the performance of the App store is amplified by the fact that Apple has a total of 200 million people signed up with an Apple id, including credit card details and the ablity to buy with "one click". This makes it much easier for people to buy iPad apps.

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4. Apple retail stores
: one more key piece of the iPad ecosystem are the Apple stores. These allowed Apple to create incredible theatre around the launch of the product. The stores are also a unique asset vs. other tablet makers to allow people to come in and try iPad and get advice.

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In conclusion, the success of iPad is a great example of how success today inceasingly comes not just from having a good product or service. You need to think more broadly about the ecosystem you create around you to help you differentiate your business.