Is the Dominance of the iPad in the Tablet Market a Sure Thing?

As our society becomes a more mobile society, portability is an important issue for consumers of digital technology. The availability of Wi-Fi hotspots across the world and the development of thousands of useful and entertaining applications are two things that are helping to drive the success of tablets.When Apple launched its first iPad in 2010, Apple proclaimed the beginning of ‘Post PC era’; a time where desktops would not be the center of the computing world. In 2011, tablets accounted for 15 percent of the total PC market. By 2012, this percentage was rising, and the total number of tablets sold is expected to reach 95 million and this number continues to rise.

According to IDC, the Apple iPad is still the market leader, thanks to the launch of iPad 3, which helped inflate its tablet market share to 68.2 percent. Other competitors have jumped on to the tablet band wagon like Amazon, Asus and Acer, but Samsung is the only one expected to pose major challenges for the iPad. However, rumors across the internet foretell of Apple’s plans to launch iPad Mini, a development which will further snatch the market shares from tablets like Google Nexus and Dell Streak 7.

Why do tablet buyers prefer the Apple iPad?

In the beginning, Apple had the first mover advantage in the tablet sector, and capitalised on this. The huge pool of apps attracts tablet buyers as well. By March 2012, Apple was offering more than 200,000 apps for iPad, which is more than what is offered by any of its competitors. Products like iCloud, iPod, iPhone, and iMac provide supporting features and are compatible with iPad, which give consumers another reason to choose this tablet. The difference between functionality and response time between the iPad and competing products is not that great; however, the ease of use is a differentiating factor. It is plain to see that up until now buyers have been willing to pay the extra amount and go for the iPad.

New Developments

The dynamics of the market are set to change in the long-term future. The Indian government is heavily involved in the launch of its own tablet PC: Aakash. This tablet costs around $50, making it the world’s cheapest tablet. Malaysia, the largest tablet market in South East Asia, recently saw the release of the 1Malaysia Pad, running Android Gingerbread. 1Malaysia Pad aims to target medium to large enterprises and offer customized solutions at a cheaper price. Producers in India and Malaysia are set to improve existing technology and compete directly with Apple, RIM and Samsung in the future.

Bottom Line

It is seen that Android Tablets are targeting both medium to higher end customers while iPad goes for the higher end only. As the tablet industry has still not matured there is greater chance for rivals to overthrow incumbent market leaders. GigaOm Pro, a technology research firm, predicts that the tablet market will constitute around 377 million units in 2016 (almost four times of what it is at present)with Android-based phones leading the market.

About author:

Joanna Stevenson studied mechanical engineering in London, and currently works for an energy research and consulting firm. She enjoys writing tech and business articles in her free time. She aspires to be an intrepid tech and gaming enthusiast with the exploratory spirit and witty prose of her favorite author of Robert Louis Stevenson.

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