Electronics Production | September 17, 2010

Apple to dominate tablet market

Even with a flood of rival products, Apple's iPad is unlikely to face a viable competitor until 2011, believes market researcher iSuppli.
The iPad will account for an overwhelming 74.1% of global tablet shipments in 2010, with the remaining 25.9% consisting of a mix of older PC-type tablet products and competitive slates. Despite the arrival of the first real iPad competitors in 2011, Apple still will maintain a prevailing 70.4% share of shipments, iSuppli predicts. This will continue into 2012. The iPad is predicted to control nearly two-thirds of shipments, at 61.7%.

"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.

Remember the iPhone

iSuppli’s forecast of the competitive landscape for the iPad is based on the short history of the iPhone market, as the iPad is in a similar situation as the iPhone when it first arrived. Launched in June 2007, the iPhone was followed by a range of competing products during the next five months to two years. However, it took almost three years for the competition to offer phones that were truly differentiated and superior in some respects, the market researcher notes.

Time-release tablets

A number of new tablet devices are expected, in addition to the ones in the market today. Leaked images of a Samsung tablet, similar to its Galaxy phone, are now in wide circulation. Rumors are also prevalent regarding Research in Motion Ltd. after its recent purchase of the BlackPad domain name.

That said, Ms Alexander believes that the most interesting near-term iPad competition is likely to come from HP, which has the requisite experience in building PC-level devices, as well as access to a proprietary WebOS through the company’s Palm acquisition. Nonetheless, HP’s iPad challenger is unlikely to appear before 2011. Likewise, rumors have surfaced claiming that Google will release a Chrome OS tablet this year.

Apps obstacles

However, iPad competitors will encounter other problems in competing with Apple, iSuppli continues. "Competitors face some serious obstacles in their efforts to match the total iPad package, most notably competing with the growing suite of iPad-specific applications", Ms Alexander concludes.


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