IDC has recently published projections reaching out to 2016, when they forecast iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad will snag a 17.3% share of all connected devices -- that includes computers, media tablets (yes, they're still using that term), and smartphones. By IDC's count, iOS had claimed 14% in 2011, during which time the whole market had shipped 916 million units and made over $489 billion in revenue. By comparison, Android is predicted to grab 31.1% in 2016, though that doesn't necessarily mean Android will be winning.
"Android's growth is tied directly to the propagation of lower-priced devices," said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices. "So, while we expect dozens of hardware vendors to own some share in the Android market, many will find profitability difficult to sustain. Similarly, we expect a large percentage of application developers to continue to focus their efforts on iOS, despite the platform's smaller overall market share, because iOS end users have proven more willing to pay for high-quality apps."
Projections are sometimes as accurate as random number generators, but the interesting thing here isn't the market shares being discussed -- it's the idea of how, in the near future, so many of our devices will be connected. Sure, smartphones and tablets are obvious, as are PCs. What about TVs, which by all accounts are becoming connected devices with their own app ecosystems? Seeing as Apple wasn't shy about pitting the new iPad head-to-head with high-definition televisions, I would be really curious to see how it stacks up in a market share comparison. (And then there are those persistent rumors of an Apple iTV/television that just won't quit.
We already have connected health and fitness devices like the Fitbit or the Withings scale to Nexia home automation systems to Samsung SmartWindows to cars like the Ford Focus Electric. One day soon, very few household appliances that don't count as "connected devices". Fridges, washers, coffee makers, electric razors -- it's going to be a big market and a huge ecosystem, and it will be very interesting to see just how much of it Apple chooses to enter, and will be able to claim.