The history of the tablet is much shorter. Apple launched the iPad in 2010 and by 2012 the spread had taken off. It started with 15 points, then with 11 and last year with 22 percentage points. If the tablet’s spreading curve does not bend sharply after 2014, it would mean a record that will be hard to beat.
Both the internet via the computer and especially the smartphone had a longer start-up period of several years before the spread really took off, unlike the tablet where the spread took off almost from scratch. It has given the tablet more space for the rapid spread over a longer period: 48 percentage points in three years. But if we look back at the end of the 1990s, the spread of internet via the computer during 1998 and 1999 grew faster than both the smartphone and the tablet.
Maximum increase in percentage points over the proliferation of different media technologies
In percentage points
|During 1 year
|During 2 years
|During 3 years
Table 2.1. The largest increase in the percentage spread over the time interval 1, 2 and 3 years for the internet, smartphone and tablet.
The internet experienced the fastest growth over two years by 36 percentage points (1998-2000). Then the tablet follows with 33 percentage points (2012-2014), and not long after, the smartphone with an increase of 30 percentage points over two years (2010-2012). From a historical perspective, there are great similarities between the spreading curves of digital technology and analogue television, which over two years (1959-1961) had a spread of 35 percentage points. (Findahl, 1999)
We do not know what will happen with the spread of smartphones and tablets after the rapid growth during the primary course of events, but as we have already noted, the secondary spreading process in terms of the internet is still ongoing 14 years after the rate peaked in 1999.