iPad vs. the World
Read the full Spring 2012 issue.
The story of the tablet computing market can be written in two chapters. Chapter One: the Apple iPad. Chapter Two: everything else.
Since its arrival in early 2010, sales of the iPad have outstripped analyst expectations at every turn. Some analysts initially predicted Apple would sell 3.5 million tablets in its first year; those projections shattered when the company reported sales of 3.2 million in just three months.
To date, Apple has sold an estimated 55 million tablets, and sales are expected to cross the 100 million device mark by the end of 2012. In the first weekend of sales in March, Apple reported that sales of its newest iPad topped 3 million units. (See also: Invasion of the Tablets)
Measuring by operating system, an end-of-year survey by IDC notes that Apple controls more than 62% of the market.
However, the fact that Android tablets have gained a 32% share can’t be dismissed.
An Android-powered equalizer may be on the horizon — but it isn’t yet apparent which manufacturer might strike the right chord with consumers. Recent models from Asus are achieving or exceeding iPad specifications, according to a recent TechWorld analysis, but most Android devices remain slow sellers. Amazon’s Kindle Fire may be the game changer.
Meanwhile, IDC reports that tablets pinned to other operating systems such as RIM account for 6% of the market. Prospects for devices running Windows 8, a tablet-optimized operating system, won’t be known until units begin shipping this fall.