The iPad and iPhone came, saw and conquered new markets. But since the products launched the question on every analyst’s mind has been on how much have these products “cannibalized” their brethren the iPod and the Mac.
This notion of “cannibalization” applies when a product is designed to compete and “eat” the share of another product in a company’s portfolio. It has some negative connotations since it implies loss but many times the thinking is that it’s better to cannibalize oneself rather than have it done by a competitor.
But have iPhone and iPad taken share from their competitors?
The following charts compare the total units of iPhones vs. iPods and iPads and iPads vs. Macs.
The evidence does not show cannibalization.
Although both iPhone and iPad have crossed over and are selling more units than their internal competitors, the old guard has not faded away.
Indeed, the Mac shows resilience and the iPod, although not growing in units has maintained sales value. What we don’t see is a clear gain for the entrants at the expense of the incumbents.
We can’t be sure how long this happy co-habitation will last, but for now the new products are fine and young but not cannibals."