To USB or Not to USB


iPad and iPhone Demand, USB 3.0 Hosts shipments accelerating

In a survey of 3200 people in Feb 2010, 13% said they would be likely to buy the iPad compared to 9% for the iPhone prior to launch in 2007.

The source of this data is an RBC Capital Markets Research report that estimates that Apple will sell about 5 million units of the iPad in this calendar year.  Interestingly, this means that Apple’s sales of other products may suffer a bit.  Of the 13% that said they would buy, about 25% said they would delay the purchase an Apple laptop, iPod, and/or iPhone.

What is interesting is that the iPad creates a cooler device, that let’s people use the internet on a bigger, better screen, with touch.

I personally don’t think that people will delay their purchases of iPods or laptops significantly.  If my iPod breaks, I’m buying a new one.  It fits in my pocket.  I’m not buying one just for the fun of it.

If my laptop breaks, I buy a new one because I need it for productivity, for photo editing, for typing long e-mails.  I certainly would put off buying a new laptop if my iPad meets my needs.  Since an iPad provides basic internet and media functions, it fits between my iPod and my laptop.

If you look at the model these buyers plan to buy, you can see a bi-model distribution.

On the left, these people are using the iPad around the home to access the internet at high speeds.  They don’t need storage because they don’t carry a lot of media.  These Couch users browse the web from their couch while watching American Idol or the Housewives of Baton Rouge or CSI: Omaha.

The 9% in the middle with 3G will use it for updating Facebook, MySpace and checking e-mail, but don’t carry around a lot of media.   Again, Connectivity is the key with a great user interface.  These Restaurant users browse the web from the bus, train, or airport, or want to share something in a restaurant and don’t want to deal with downloading to their device.

On the right, you see the people that need the connectivity and the media storage for all their movies and on-the-go connectivity.   I think this is skewed to the initial crowd enthusiasts because these people really want all the features, lots of memory and connectivity.  These people are Apple crazed enthusiasts are generally going to be more tech-savvy.  These people will be using USB to connect to their PC to transfer lots of their personal media to the device.

This is all my analysis, no one else gets the blame.

Here’s the source for the article, and the data referring to the RBC report.

USB 3.0 Update

There have been Dozens of USB 3.0 products announced in the past month.

The most interesting announcements:

1) NEC ships 3 million USB 3.0 Host Chips in the first 6 months of production.  It took them 18 months to get to 3 million with USB 2.0.  I personally think it’s a lot more than this, but this is PURE SPECULATION.  I know that the developers of USB probably can absorb no more at 10,000 of these, so the rest are being bought by real users.  NEC is ramping production from 1 million to 2 million units per month At this rate, I would guess (and this is only a guess) that somewhere around 21 million units will ship in 2010 grabbing from 10-13% of the PC market.

2) Gigabyte ships 1 million USB 3.0 motherboards – If Gigabyte has shipped this many ASUS must have shipped at least as many.  This (again) is SPECULATION.  The Gigabyte board is delivering triple USB 3.0 power through the ports to power USB devices like hard drives to differentiate their USB 3.0 Host (still using NEC) with other companies using USB 3.0.  Gigabyte is also having a contest for someone to submit an great USB 3.0 product idea.

Based on this, I expect at least as many USB 3.0 Hard Drives must have shipped as well for everyone wanting to connect things to those USB 3.0 Hosts.

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