Steve Jobs’ fifth revolution

I think one of the most significant announcements at Apple’s media event today was that the iPod touch now has over 50% market share in the worldwide portable gaming industry — the iPod touch outsells the portable game consoles from Nintendo, Sony, and all other manufacturers, combined. Steve Jobs also said over 1.5 billion games have been downloaded so far to iPod touches alone. “It has become by far the most popular game player in the world.”

Steve Jobs discusses the iPod touch as a gaming platform

It’s widely recognized that Jobs has already revolutionized four industries: personal computers (Mac), digital music (iPod and iTunes), animated films (Pixar), and smartphones (iPhone). I think it’s now safe to add a fifth to that list: portable gaming.

His impact is a revolution both in terms of the new multi-touch user interface for gaming and the App Store platform for game distribution and payment. The major products involved are not just the iPod touch but also the iPhone and iPad.

So what will be number six?

Apple is making some progress on movies and TV shows. However, the studios and cable companies have all the power, and they are terrified about what happened to the music industry. It’s hard to find a path that transitions the industry from cable TV “channels” to browsing and paying for individual shows.

Another possibility for revolution is in textbooks and online education, where iTunes already carries recorded lectures and the iPad has started to inspire a new class of interactive educational content.

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