In anticipation of Apple's product release tomorrow, AdMob has published a historical account of their growth with key Apple milestones overlain. There are a few interesting conclusions one can draw
- Applications drive data, not smart phones: by Jul 08, one can guess there were about 20M Apple Devices sold. But the data traffic is still de minimus. Only after the OS SDK is launched and apps are downloaded does data skyrocket. This is particularly clear with the ramp in data from 2B to 3B app downloads. Another way of looking at this is the mobile web, until this point, has been a completely uninteresting place for users to visit.
- iPod Touch penetration varies dramatically: iPod touches constitute somewhere between 25-40% of iPhone OS devices globally, and they make up about 40% of the ad requests. GIven all the data I had seen before, I was under the impression that more apps and longer engagement times were driven on the Touch. Of course, data might be skewed by apps played without internet connections. Additionally, looking through the December report, it seems this varies dramatically by geography. In LatAm, iPod touches drive 22% of total requests with iPhone driving 20% while Western Europe is 17% touch and 54% iPhone.
- Carriers must determine how to capitalize on this: With Verizon shedding another 13,000 jobs and profits shrinking, it's clear carriers are in trouble. The typical iPhone OS user downloads 200 MB of data per month on AT&T's network, resulting in huge CAGR of roughly 1400% forecasted. Clearly networks can't keep up with the demand. Carriers will need to balance the user demand for sophisticated phones, application convenience and competitive differentiation with managing their network capex budgets and traffic throttling. This may well be the golden age for users: unlimited data at a reasonable price.