The Apple iPad is more than just a great tablet; it's the single most important computing device released in more than 25 years.
In fact, you'd have to go back to the introduction in 1984 of the Macintosh personal computer to find a machine as game-changing as this one.
Of course, back then, the Mac grabbed only a small share of the huge PC market. But what it did do was establish Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the sector's clear technical leader. It also gave birth to desktop publishing.
This time around, however, Apple has turned the tables on its rivals in two ways…
- First, it came up with a breakthrough approach and the ideal screen size. At nearly 10 inches diagonal – very close to the size of a piece of paper – this format feels natural to most users.
- Second, it's a runaway success, boasting 70% of the market share.
That leaves tech investors like us with two choices: Learn what this all means, or get left in the dust.
You see, the PC industry is going into a long decline. It's already started. Ditto for newspapers, magazines, music distribution, and lots of other physical products that will get transformed into software.
So says Michael Saylor, author of the hot new book "The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything." As I told you yesterday, I tracked Saylor down to talk about how mobile computing fit into the Era of Radical Change. (You can read the first of my three-part series here.)
He believes five billion people will use iPads or a comparable device within a decade. That's roughly 75% of the population of Earth. No doubt, he admitted to me, that's a bold prediction. He added this:
Naturally, I wanted to know just what investors need to do to make money off this trend, so I could share the information with you.
Saylor answered by sharing four key facts every investor needs to know about this market-dominating device.
Here they are…
Key iPad Fact No. 1: Apple Has "Won" the Market
The company can barely keep up with demand for its iPads. It has what amounts to a one-hour inventory. That is flat-out incredible.
Here's Saylor's take on it:
Key iPad Fact No. 2: For Amazon, Size Matters
Saylor considers the iPad an "enterprise" class tablet, because it has a 10-inch screen. At that size it works great as a media-rich mobile sales brochure people can use when meeting with clients. In fact, he and other CEOs have begun equipping their entire staffs with iPads.
Jeff Bezos should be so lucky…
The billionaire founder of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) introduced the Kindle e-reader and the new Fire version – which competes with the iPad – with just seven-inch screens. That size just won't work for business users; it's too small. Says Saylor:
Key iPad Fact No. 3: Google Can't Catch Up
No doubt, Google Inc. (NASAQ:GOOG) dominates the search-engine sector. No one else comes close. This cash-rich firm invests heavily in other forms of cutting-edge high tech, like robot-driven cars, too.
But in the tablet market, Saylor explained, Google will never become more than an also-ran against Apple. He has great respect for Google co-founder Larry Page, but not even Page can compete with the iPad, and again, it has everything to do with the size of the screen.
Key iPad Fact No. 4: Microsoft Has Confused the Market
No doubt, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) remains the clear leader in the global PC software market. But as Saylor sees it, over the long haul, that is low-growth business – at best. Here's how he views Microsoft's tablet play.
Thus, Saylor believes Apple has already won the tablet wars. He advises investors to keep an eye not just on Apple but on all the firms in Apple's "ecosystem" – from wireless carriers to chip makers.
At the very least, use caution when going long on any companies that make PCs.
Because make no mistake…the future belongs to the iPad.
In Part Three tomorrow, I'll explain how digital money will go "bulletproof".
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About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.