It took radio thirty-eight years to reach an audience of 50 million. It took television thirteen years to reach the same number and internet just four years.
Apple sold 13 million iPhones in a weekend.
Our world is changing fast. And it ain’t over yet. In fact it’s just getting started.
The new iPhone speaks volumes about change in the global economy. When holding that 129 grams of blockbuster hi-tech in the palm of your hand it’s easy to forget where it came from and how it and its peers are changing our world..
I had my first mobile phone in 1995. It was about the size of a fridge. Now some two-thirds of the world’s population has a mobile phone and one-third has internet access. We make more phone calls in a day than we did in a year twenty years ago. We trade globally more in one day than we did in a whole year fifty years ago.
In the first weekend after launch the iPhone 6S was selling an average of 75 units per second. 13 million. And they’re all connected…all online.
Apple is, of course, not alone in changing the way we do things on planet Earth.
Uber, Airbnb, Tesla and others are not about creating a solid business with a good return for shareholders…they are about fundamentally changing the way some part of the world operates. Steve Jobs called it ‘putting a dent in the universe’.
Unpack a typical smartphone: the central processor architecture is probably designed in the UK (by ARM — they have over 90% market share in smart phones), the machines that make the chips are probably designed and manufactured in The Netherlands (at ASML — they have an 80% market share), the glass is made in the US , the chips come from Taiwan, South Korea and China, the main-board assembly is done in China with the overall design being done in the US (to name but a few of the many components and countries).
Apple and Google (et al) aren’t just building new versions of their mobile operating systems (iOS and Android) they are rewriting the operating system of the global economy.
Do try to keep up!
So there’s quite a lot of ‘so what’ about all these technologies and the Capitalism 2.0 of which they are a part.
Not least that our governance institutions operate at an almost parochial level. They are doing their best to keep up, but their best is not yet good enough.
Our education systems, employment systems and legal frameworks operate on the basis of a job description and a profession: these are rapidly becoming moot principles.
So there’s stuff to do!
Oh…yes, I like the iPhone, but I wasn’t one of the 13 million.