SAN FRANCISCO—Apple Inc.'s iPad is set to continue dominating the tablet computer market through at least 2012, accounting for nearly two-thirds of tablet shipments that year, according to a forecast released Wednesday (Aug. 25) by market research firm iSuppli Corp.
The iPad is expected to account for 74.1 percent of global tablet shipments in 2010, 70.4 percent of shipments in 2011 and 61.7 percent of shipments in 2012, according to the forecast.
Though there are a number of rival products in the works, iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) said it doesn't expect the iPad to face any real competition until sometime next year. Even if consumers are drawn to the rival products, it will take Apple's competitors until at least 2012 to develop ecosystems of tablet applications and content that can rival those of Apple, iSuppli said.
"Although the iPad has been on the market for only a few months, powerful interests throughout the technology business are devoting enormous resources to challenge and topple Apple's domination in this fast-growing marketplace," said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at iSuppli, in a statement. "However, if recent history is any lesson, it will take some time for these companies to get their products to market, longer for them to offer necessary software support and infrastructure, and an even lengthier period to begin to rival the overall user experience Apple is able to deliver."
ISuppli draws parallels between the introduction of iPad and that of the iPhone several years ago. Launched in June 2007, the iPhone was followed by a range of competing products over the next two years, including the Samsung F700, the UTStarcom XV6800, the Google G1 and the Palm Pre. But it took nearly three years for the competition to offer phones that were not just in the ballpark of being comparable to the iPhone, but also were truly differentiated and superior in some respects, according to iSuppli’s mobile market research. These phones today include the Motorola Droid, coming 29 months after the iPhone introduction, and the HTC Evo 4G, released 36 months after the iPhone, iSuppli said.
ISuppli said it considers a number of current products to be iPad competitors, including Android- and Windows 7-based tablets from Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and Lenovo. But the market research firm does not believe any of these are a serious competitor to the iPad.
"Companies are quickly developing products that match or exceed some of the surface hardware specifications of the Apple iPad," Alexander said. "But it’s still unlikely that any of the competitors will be able to equal the overall performance experience of the iPad."
According to Alexander, Apple's complete integration of hardware, software, operating system and applications is what sets the iPad apart. "And on that basis—an integrated hardware/software design—we don't see anything in the marketplace at present that seems likely to rival what Apple is offering in tablets today," Alexander said.
Alexander noted that leaked images of an apparently forthcoming tablet from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., similar it its Galaxy phone, are now in wide circulation. He also noted that rumors are rampant that Research in Motion Ltd. will offer an iPad competitor following its recent purchase of the "BlackPad" domain name.
But Alexander said he believes the most interesting near-term iPad competition is likely to come from HP, which has experience in building PC-level devices, as well as access to a proprietary WebOS through the company’s Palm acquisition. HP’s iPad challenger is unlikely to appear before 2011 and probably will include multiple products, Alexander said.
Rumors have also surfaced that Google will release a Chrome OS tablet on this year’s Black Friday, Nov. 26, but that seems unlikely given that iSuppli sources indicate the initial Chrome OS does not have touch screen display support, Alexander said.
The forecast for Apple dominance in touchpad marketplace is impressive.
However, Apple ecosystem has also been criticised for being a closed system especially for iPod, iPhone and iPad application developers. Apple puts too many restrictions on third party developers. Apple's intentions may not be malicious because they have come up with innovative products of high quality standards by following this strategy. However, considering the openness of the Web, Apple needs to open up their development environment, and allow even more open source applications to be executable on these devices. This will only help mass scale adoption of these devices around the world. If Apple does not do it, then their competitors are going to do it anyway. It is time that Apple reads the writing on the wall and try to move from a closed system to an open system.
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Apple definitely will be the market leader for some time in the tablet market. They were first to successfully market the concept, so will always be viewed by consumers as the "inventor of the concept". No an unusual position for Apple, but it seems competitors are coming on much more quickly on the iPad than for the iPhone. This may be due to the fact that most of the iPad hardware and software is not "revolutionary enough" to hold off the competition as they did in the past products. I have no doubt that Android and Windows-based systems will be competitive from a hardware and software perspective, but will they have the "marketing power" to sell that to consumers? It should be fun to watch!
For new player to be successful penetrating into the market, apps store and apps development support are very crucial. Google surely will have the muscle to do so, if not better. The most difficult stumbling block is the momentum that Apple has earned and, the consumers perception on the quality of Apple's product. The projected figures are about right unless there is a new factor coming into the picture.
I’m not surprised by this prediction from iSuppli and I believe most iPad owners will agree with me. The iPad has been a game changer and has created an altogether new business segment of tablets. That’s no mean achievement considering that almost all notebook heavyweights including HP, IBM and Toshiba tried their hand at creating such a device.
I have the following good reasons to believe that Apple looks well poised to dominate tablet market through 2012
- It’s already got a fantastic early mover advantage
- When it comes to App Store for tablets, Apple is leaps and bounds ahead of all competitors.
- It will be hard for other companies to replicate the ‘wow’ factor of iPad
- Though people were quick to write-off the iPad as an “entertainment gadget”, the iPad is increasingly being accepted in academic as well as enterprise segments.
- Keith Schaub
The iPad is a tremendous device. I have one and love it, but it's is going to be easy to mimic and OEMs are going to flock to the market space now that it's proven to be viable.
For example, I find it hard to believe Apple's market share will drop only 13% in two years once Google based Android based tablet hits the market. Look at at Android based smartphone market share. In two-three years, it went from introduction to 17% in the much more crowded and mature smartphone market. If the rumors are correct about Google releasing tablet this fall, the Google Tablet and it's follow ons from other OEMs that Google will enable, will easily have %25 percent of the market, given it's ecosystem and market place exists today and the installed base of android smartphone users who will want a android based tablet.
@CamilleK- ISuppli does not spell out specifically what other products it lumps into the tablet category, but for what it's worth, this is the text of the iSuppli news release:
"The iPad will account for an overwhelming 74.1 percent of global tablet shipments in 2010, with the remaining 25.9 percent consisting of a mix of older PC-type tablet products and competitive slates."
That doesn't sound like Kindle to me, but I could be wrong. And either way, your question is a valid one. Obviously I think we have to assume that whatever else is in this category, it doesn't have the functionality of iPad because at this point nothing does.
It's interesting to see these numbers. Not so long ago, there were a number of articles & opinions on why iPad just isn't the right product and will be a failure. The main reason for this feeling was that the iPad doesn't offer anything new (as against iPhone which did offer Touch & gesture recognition as new features). Apple seems to be able to create new markets with its products. Any number of complaints against its products (for example lack of multi-tasking) doesn't seem to deter its success.
I'd like to see some good demographic and usage data for the iPad. The product will, in a sense, have a lot of competition very soon, but it won't be as formidable as it might seem on the surface. My hunch is that most of the tablet makers that want to compete with the iPad will be missing the mark. They'll be looking at their product as a better replacement for a mini notebook than is the iPad. The genius of Apple isn't in raw hardware. It's in understanding the consumer. From what I can see, the iPad is really suited and will probably be used in much different ways than are notebooks and other conventional computers. By chasing a new market while the other companies that don't quite get it squabble against each other in the old market, Apple keeps that "competition" less than relevant.
I am curious to hear what is defined as the Tablet market, given the 74% share of the iPad (as opposed to an even higher number), I am tempted to think it includes the Kindle type readers which may not be a good comparison since they are limited in features. Having said that, I think there will be added attention to creating ecosystems similar to the app store (as Alexander points out) and there-in lies the opportunity for differentiation by one-upping with a super mart of apps, video, audio, subscriptions, book readers and even magazine subscriptions. I just read Apple announced a press event on September 1 so Apple looks to be always a step ahead in expanding offerings and products.
With iPad, Apple has created new market segment which they envisaged in around 1993 with conceptually similar product. However, as the HP/Agilent slogan mentions “there is always better way”. In near future, a company will build technically better product with few unique features and may have novice way of offering new applications that rivals similar services from Apple. There is always scope to find and serve niche market area. We hope to see more competition and better products then Apple at much lower price.
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