Steve Jobs Sets Insane Goals..

..or he’s not telling us something. If the multi-year exclusive agreement is true, then the goals are probably unachievable. In the keynote yesterday, Jobs put out there that almost a billion phones are sold each year to consumers. Granted, most of these are regular phones without the whiz-bang and special features of the iPhone – and are usually free to the consumer, subsidized by the contract agreements. Still, he set what most would consider a modest goal, of getting 1% of the cell phone sales - 10 million phones, by the end of 2008.

However, lets do some napkin math. A very small percentage of phones out there today are smart phones. C|Net says that 37.4 million smart phones out there. This is probably a pretty conservative estimate by now – the Gartner study was released in October. Let’s give the smart phone people the benefit of the doubt and say that usage triples by the end of 2008. That makes about 100 million smart phones out there. 10 million is ten percent of that market.

Let’s look at the math another way. Cingular has 58 million subscribers. Assuming that they gain 20% per year, they will have 68 million at the end of 2008. If Apple is aiming at 10 million phones, that is one out of every seven Cingular customers. Next time you walk down the street, notice count 7 people that you can notice have a phone. If Apple makes its goal, one of those 7 people will own a iPhone, and will have shelled out at least half a grand on it.

These are amazingly high goals for a company that is new in the market. Granted, the iPhone is pretty revolutionary, but I don’t think Steve is that crazy. I’m betting that he has something up his sleeve that will help him meet or beat this 10 million goal.