Social networking site Mashable studied the user experience on the Apple iPad to determine which existing technologies were most at risk. E-readers are at Code Red. Smart phones can rest safe for now.
Netbook sales dramatically slowed in the month after the iPad went on sale, but it's hard to know whether that's because the netbook frenzy would have cooled off anyway, or because iPad actually replaced real demand in the market. In any case, here is Mashable's elegant results graph:
When the iPad came out, I wrote that it wasn't invading a market so much as creating a market. Computers are work machines on which you can procrastinate. The iPad was a procrastination on which you could work. It was something totally new.
I think that interpretation is validated by Mashable's last chart, which shows most consumers think of the product as a toy rather than an essential machine. But that's now. Anybody who doubts the ability of invention to give birth to necessity needs only walk down the street and note the ubiquity of headphones stemming up from pocketed iPods. iPods are younger than today's high schoolers, and for millions of Americans it's nearly impossible to imagine life without them. Toys -- especially, for whatever reason, Apple's toys -- have a way of becoming necessary.
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