Numbers game: Why the iPhone is like tomato soup
I've always been fascinated by numbers and statistics and I soak up Steve's triumphal statistics with absolute credulity. A hundred million this, two hunded and fifty million that: it's all grist for my mill. There's no gainsaying the success of the iOS 4 devices by anybody's reckoning. In the three years since the introduction of the first iPhone Apple have sold 120 million units. This figure covers the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and is all the more remarkable when you discover that in nine years the total sales figure for iPods is only 275 million. Personally, taking into account the ubiquity of the iPod, I would not have been surprised to hear a figure of over one billion.
In this context, therefore, the iOS devices have been wildly successful. And while we're on statistics, let's slurp tomato soup. This year, Heinz tomato soup celebrates its centenary in Britain. It first went on sale in London's upmarket Fortnum & Mason in 1910 to add to Fortnum's existing Heinz offerings of baked beans and tomato ketchup. Heinz tomato soup is the definitive tomato soup in my larder; call me a Philistine, but I prefer it to all the fancy home-made stuff you buy in expensive cartons. It's all the more delicious since it is now made for Europe in my home town of Wigan.
So how many tins of tomato have Heinz flogged in the last century? Not surprisingly, a large number - 8.2 billion. Yet if Apple continue at this rate, they're moving stuff at the rate of 4 billion iOS devices a century. I know it's only half the soup supply for Britain, but come on, it's impressive nonetheless - especially if you take turnover into account. 120 million iOS devices must account for around £24bn through the tills. That would certainly buy a century's worth of Cream of Tomato. The Apple devices may not be moving quite as fast as Heinz' finest, but they're definitely selling like hot cakes.