Some revolutions are bigger than others.
One of our favorite all-time tech charts depicts the uncanny correlation of Americans subscribing to Netflix—arguably the perfect accessory to broadband internet access—as they left AOL’s dialup service. Using those services as proxies, the broadband era is now much bigger than the dialup era: Netflix has 10 million more subscribers—36.2 million at the end of June—than AOL did when it peaked in 2002.
But the mobile revolution—represented here by Apple iPhone subscribers—has been both faster and larger. At the end of June, 73 million Americans had iPhones, comScore estimates.
These aren’t perfect representatives of their broader industries, but the different uptake rates are interesting. (And might help explain some of the large valuations being assigned to successful mobile companies.) AOL and Netflix subscriptions are usually one-per-household, while iPhones typically belong to one person, boosting the mobile era. But iPhone access is also considerably more expensive—roughly $70 or more per person, per month—than either AOL, Netflix, or for that matter, broadband internet access.