Apple Dominating Tablet Takeover

Competition is hotting up in the ever-growing tablet space, but Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is still the company some way ahead of the chasing pack.

With its category-defining device now sold through its own outlets, discount retailers, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and Verizon Wireless , the tablet's momentum has everyone else fighting to keep up. (See The Tablet Tide Starts to Rise, Verizon Gets iPad With a WiFi Twist, and Verizon, AT&T to Hawk Apple iPads.)

Several analyst reports out this week have rival tablets enjoying steady growth over the next few years, but in a constant -- and potentially fruitless -- battle to oust the iPad. Juniper Research Ltd. says the number of annual shipments for tablets will reach 81 million by 2015, thanks to new Android-based entrants. (See Tablet Parade Looks to an Apple Takedown.)

For a more short-term view, Gartner Inc. says there will be 54.8 million tablets sold in 2011.

For the last quarter, there were 4.4 million tablets shipped worldwide, up from 3.5 million in the previous quarter, according to Strategy Analytics Inc. Of these, Apple's iPad made up 95 percent of the global market, up 26 percent from the previous quarter. That's clearly a huge lead, but one that Strategy Analytics thinks may be short-lived.

The second-largest player, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), captured only 2.3 percent market share in the third quarter, but Strategy Analytics says that number is set to rise -- and fast.

Samsung Corp. introduced the Galaxy Tab last month across all the carriers in the US, and Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) and others have also made quieter launches. Juniper says competition for the iPad will arrive in earnest in 2011 when QNX Software Systems -based BlackBerry devices, Windows Phone 7, and MeeGo tablets come to market. (See RIM Shows Off PlayBook Tablet, Sprint's Galaxy Tab in a Subsidy Orbit, and 4G World: Verizon Picks Up the Tab.)

But, by that time, Apple should have a new version of the iPad to bolster its lead again.

The OS advantage
Apple may be the pioneer and leader, but it's actually the combination of iOS and the Android operating system that is putting the pressure on competitors. Juniper says that the quality of both OSs has affected BlackBerry , Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) the most.

These handset makers have been stymied by their close association with a specific operating system -- the BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, and Symbian Ltd. , respectively.

While all three have new OSs in the pipeline in the form of QNX for RIM, WP7 for Microsoft, and MeeGo for Nokia, they've been slow to come to market, leaving it wide open for Apple and Android to take over. (See OS Watch: Android's Fragmentation Makes Friends and Nokia's 'Unpolished Gems'.)

Netbooks feel the squeeze
Feeling the tablet burn the most is the short-lived netbook category of PC-smartphone hybrids. Juniper Research says this category will remain resilient in the business market, but ChangeWave is less optimistic.

The growing interest in the iPad and other tablets has come at the expense of desktop PCs and, especially, netbooks, ChangeWave says. In yet another tablet report today, it found that only 14 percent of 3,000 consumers surveyed said they may buy a netbook, down 10 points from June 2009, when interest in the product category was highest.

Further, 80 percent of those who plan to buy a tablet will purchase the iPad, although that could be because consumers weren't aware of upcoming alternatives. (See iPads Kill Netbook Growth.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:19:48 PM
re: Apple Dominating Tablet Takeover

You'd think with all the competition, prices would start to fall for tablets, but so far they are all hovering around $600. I think that will change in the Android camp, just as it's starting to in the smartphone market.

BananadineDream 12/5/2012 | 4:19:47 PM
re: Apple Dominating Tablet Takeover

The remarkable thing about tablet pricing is that Apple is the one showing pricing leadership.  So far, the competition has been about paying more for a 7" screen vs. the iPad's 10" screen - that's not particularly compelling.  The iPod Touch is fairly priced and there really isn't even a competitive product in the same segment.  And there's more Apple pricing leadership with the $99 Apple TV box.  This isn't the Apple that I remember from years past.

Steve Jobs probably remembers full well how the "pricing premium" worked against Apple in the early Mac vs. PC days.

spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 4:19:47 PM
re: Apple Dominating Tablet Takeover

I think it is inevitable.  Google's primary objective is to get as much traffic into the cloud as possible in order to sell more advertising.  Margin on its operating system is a secondary matter.

Mark Lutkowitz, Telecom Pragmatics

popper 12/5/2012 | 4:19:42 PM
re: Apple Dominating Tablet Takeover

"Further, 80 percent of those who plan to buy a tablet will purchase the iPad, although that could be because consumers weren't aware of upcoming alternatives."

it seems this is indeed ONE of the main problem's , although Id rank FAR Higher the Fact that although working dual and quad Arm IP Exists Right Now, the actual OEM Chip Arm cortex A8,9,15/Neon licence vendor's are apparently holding it back and killing the potential massive Arm growth into new sectors for no good reason.

some are even saying that you will Not see Arm cortex A15 Quad SOC's until 2015.... that's way to long, we Need them produced and inside CPE and mobile right now, even if its only lower clock rated at 1 gHz for now.

people see the massive potential, they actually want to buy into this potential ASAP, but are stopped cold , 2015 is an eternity away, hell even 2012 is to long.

@BananadineDream "The remarkable thing about tablet pricing is that Apple is the one showing pricing leadership.  So far"

hardly, when you actually look at the other Arm SOC vendors you will begin to see that what these Ipad and related end user prices show is in fact price gouging in the current market place, for instance

the v7 Arm cortex A8/Neon 128bit SIMD Freescale i.MX51 at 800MHz

Microsoft Word on ARM Powered Laptop using Genesi and Citrix solutions


between the 
Genesi $200 box and $300 laptop developer unit price sits a perfectly usable Arm cortex A8/Neon 128bit SIMD Freescale i.MX51 pad unit if only other OEM's and players in the supply chain were to place larger orders as incentive for them to make such a tailored device from their existing PCB and Aura firmware.

the efika and/or the i.MX51 SOC is not perfect by anyones imagination right now OC (for instance no dedicated *AVC HD Encode/Decode engine like the Sandy bridge has with a X264 Patch being worked on right now inside Intel), but it shows that you can produce perfectly fine developer orientated unit prices in the $200 unit price using Freescale Arm SOC at low volume.

getting that price down to the $99 level is a simple volume equation buying trays in the 10 and 100's per run as Genesi proved before with the older PPC Efika version.


But the one thing people seem to constantly miss is the basic  fact the efika Arm A8 Has already had QNX RTP6 (the RIM OS) ported by Dan's QSSL team a long time ago now, as did the PPC version, not to mention Chrome-OS , AROS, and virtually all the major Linux have been ported to name but a few, its that simple to port an OS with their genesi IP, plus OC they are actively encouraging and sponsoring  full OS ports, and Neon SIMD improvements for inclusion into the Arm code-base right now for all  Arm vendors to benefit from in the future.




* will "Heavy Reading" Please STOP calling it 'Mpeg-4' in your white papers etc , its 'Mpeg-4 AVC'

If you want to be pedantic , you might even say the antiquated  "Divx"/"Xvid" is in fact 'Mpeg4' as it was the very first video entry in the Mpeg4 standard, But OC that is in Fact 'Mpeg-4 ASP' really ;)


P.S interesting fact, mentioning Heavy reading &, 'Avail' apparently use the Open, visually high quality X264 H.264 Encoder in their Hardware DVB and other solution's, theres a commercial x264 licence available too now. 

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