This is an animation.
There was quite a heated debate on Asymco.com between me and a couple of other commenters about the vertical size of the above graphic. In my humble opinion the graph height chosen by Horace Dediu is misleading the reader and exaggerating the potential that is left in the phone market for Apple.
As shown above the graph would’ve been just as informative if it had been reduced in height by 50%. All of the vendors are still visible, even Windows Phone which just holds a tiny one or two percent of the market (guesstimate). Because even at a height of 400 pixels, each percent still is about three to four pixels high. With a height of 817 pixels in the original, more than half of the users on the internet will have to scroll to see the whole graph, have to adjust their display size in the browser or chose “Show image” to have it squeezed on another browser window to fit their vertical screen resolution.
By doing this most of the users get the impression that “the market is huge”.
The other error in my humble opinion is that this basically omits that not everything that is “blue for Apple” in this graph really is potential market. As stated in the comments on Asymco.com, I think it is obvious that the emerging markets that simply do not have the 3G networks nor the buying power to afford smartphones can’t be regarded as part of “non-smartphones” when you label the article “The iPhone opportunity”, or better: they will stay non-smartphone for a long time to come this way or the other and can’t be regarded “an opportunity”.
As a hint on the current state of GSM coverage around the world take a look at the map Amazon provides for the Kindle’s Whispernet. I don’t say this is a map of all the cellphone networks in the world but it’s a hint where you can download a book via Whispernet on Earth. These markets will first have to have billions of dollars invested in their network infrastructure and the people living in these countries will need to move up from third world countries to second or first world countries (by today’s standards) so that they can even be regarded as a potential market for Apple, the iPhone, or other smartphones in the first place. At the moment, Africa is a Nokia continent and I don’t see any reason for that to change. As Tim Cook stated, the emerging markets and growth potentials lie in Brazil and China and you just can’t color all of the “non-smartphones” blue if Brazil’s and China’s numbers are just part of that non-smartphone number.
Of course this isn’t intentional by Horace Dediu. I don’t fault him. The problem here lies in the reader who usually is NOT well versed in analyzing data. That’s what journalists are for. They need to be able to interpret the data and their graphic representation and they need to do it right. I think I am not wrong when I state that a large portion of the readers, given the title of the post, will be unable to interpret the graph correctly without the proper context and background information.
To me this is misleading the layman.