The Future of iOS Is Now in the Hands of Children

There’s been big news in the iOS world recently. The tech world was set abuzz by the news coming out of the WWDC, including the the announcement of iOS 6 and the many upgrades contained therein. Following Apple news updates is a cottage industry in itself — I won’t attempt to out-do or summarize all the bloggers, reporters or fans here.

All this activity has prompted more than a few musings on the long term trajectory of the iOS ecosystem. As Giant’s app development team continues to grow and add more published titles in the App Store, this is an area of particular interest for us. Apple has surprised competitors more than once with a revolutionary products and services. It’ll be interesting to see if that market leadership continues.

Our VP forwarded a recent article from Emarketer which provided some very interesting statistics and forecasts: “…the number of iPad users in the US will rise by over 90% this year to 53.2 million, as loyal users replace older models and new consumers purchase the device. This year, the iPad will continue to be in the hands of more than three-quarters of all tablet users in the country. And the biggest growth in users will be in the 65+ and 12- crowd.

As a first generation adopter of the iPad, it has become an important tool, completely revolutionizing my own media consumption habits. Mobile access to Facebook and Twitter have increased my usage of both services. My WSJ app provides the latest international news developments, updated frequently, which I can share with friends. Plants vs. Zombies continues, rather inexplicably, to captivate. And Flipbook has centralized a number of news and information sites on which I’ve come to depend. Having all these functions in one place has delivered efficiencies and pleasure.

But I can see the truth in Emarketer’s forecast in the ways that my kids use the iPad. My son tends to use the iPad for gaming, but my daughter in particular loves touch-based games and activities. She frequently returns to the very clever apps of Toca Boca. She’s a huge fan of The Numberlys from Moonbot Studios, which is just amazing in its detail and story.

It seems like the iPad allows them to just do more. Perhaps their play isn’t quite as nakedly imaginative as it may have been with simpler toys, but I think that’s OK. It’s enabling a more sophisticated kind of play — thinking strategically when battling zombies or thinking creatively when coloring and cutting hair (which you can only do once on a Barbie, BTW).

It’s play which requires them to synthesize information, actions and intentions more quickly. It’s a different kind of play but one that is, perhaps, more appropriate for the future they’re living into.

With these changes in the paradigm of consumers of all ages use such devices, iOS devices (and perhaps others like them — when the competition figures out how to catch up) have a long and profitable history ahead. And that’s good news for everybody (including our iOS development team!).

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