We are living in the mobile revolution. More people are relying on their mobile phone and tablet PCs for their internet and communication needs than ever before. The mobile revolution, or Post-PC Era, was predicted by Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, in 2010 when the iPad was still very new. Apple’s iPad was first released in January of 2010. Now in March 2012, we are seeing the third generation of the device barely two years after its original release.
Was Apple’s iPad the first of its kind? No. The tablet PC first originated with the Microsoft Tablet PC product line, which was announced in 2001. At the time, the product line was unsuccessful, but today, tablet PCs are more popular than traditional desktop PCs. In 2011, tablet PC sales were estimated at 60 million units and industrywide sales are expected to reach 90-95 million units in 2012. Using Apple Inc. as the example in this market, three times as many iPads were sold as Macs in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Tablet PCs connect to internet services one of two ways – through WiFi or through a cellular connection. Many cellular companies have recently upgraded their services to a higher speed connection to accommodate both mobile phones and tablet PCs utilizing the same data networks. In the U.S., the two largest carriers of mobile data plans are AT&T and Verizon. They both offer data plans for iPad and iPhone that are comparable to each other. For $30, Verizon offers 2GB as a monthly data allowance and AT&T offers 3GB per month for the same price.
O2 Wireless, the leading wireless carrier in the UK, was originally chosen at the exclusive carrier for Apple’s iPhone upon its original release in 2007. O2 is a part of Telefonica O2 Europe, which provides which provides both land line and mobile telephone operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I have a friend in the UK that utilizes O2 Wireless for their iPhone and can attest to the success of their wireless connectivity.
02’s data plan for iPad 2, which, I would suspect, would be the same for the New iPad, gives customers the option of either Pay & Go or 1GB or 2GB packages with a recurring tariffs. Since we were looking at the 2GB and 3GB packages with AT&T and Verizon, we will compare the 2GB package from O2. It costs customers £15.32 over 30 days, recurring. The ‘recurring’ part is the tariff, or tax charge. So, just judging off of the base charge of the data plans for the iPad, O2 wins. The conversion of the Euro to the U.S. Dollar makes their 2GB data plan equal about $20.06 per month. The greatest difference in the services is that O2 is still only providing 3G speed to its customers currently, however, 4G LTE was just launched for commercial use in Borough of Southwark, London on February 29, 2012.
With this newest release of the Apple iPad, it will be interesting to see where the Post-PC Era will take us. Mobile phones and tablet PCs are taking the world by storm and mobile carriers are struggling to keep up with the demands of the millions of consumers around the globe. The hottest thing now is 4G LTE. What will it be next? And, how will mobile carriers and producers of the products adapt to the changing world around us? What do you think is next?