Reported by: Nicholas Mihailov
The tablet market is getting more competitive with new manufacturers looking to get a piece of the action. It was Apple iPad that revolutionised the tablet industry when it was first released in 2010. Later Samsung joined the party along with Amazon, Sony, Asus and others.
Few of the tablets already released have been selling like wildfire. Samsung is to yet unveil the much powerful Galaxy Note 10.1 this month. With all this making the news, is iPad losing its edge?
Data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet Tracker showed Apple’s iPad is still ruling the roost.
It was a record-setting quarter for iPad. Worldwide tablet shipments for the second quarter of 2012 (2Q12) were estimated at 25 million units. It is an increase from 18.7 in the first quarter of 2012.
“That represents a quarter-over-quarter increase of 33.6% and a robust year-over-year growth rate of 66.2%, up from 15 million units in the second quarter of 2011,” IDC said in a release.
Apple shipped 17 million iPads during the quarter, up from 11.8 million units in 1Q12 and well above its previous record of 15.4 million in 4Q11.
Besides the US, the Apple iPad also dominates the tablet market in UK, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and Sweden, among others.
“Apple built upon its strong March iPad launch and ended the quarter with its best-ever shipment total for the iPad, outrunning even the impressive shipment record it set in the fourth quarter of last year,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices.
Mainelli points that majority of consumers still favor iPad over the new and existing rival tablets. “While iPad shipment totals are beginning to slow a bit in mature markets where the device saw early traction, growth in other regions is clearly more than making up the difference,” he adds.
IDC also has data on Apple’s competitors, including Samsung, Asus and Amazon.
Apple’s fiercest rival Samsung apparently saw “exceptional growth”, shipping over 2.4 million units, up from 1.1 million units a year ago.
Amazon returned from a sluggish first quarter to post shipments of 1.2 million units, and ASUS shipped close to 855,454 units which is an increase from 397,048 units a year ago.
The last on the top five was Acer which only shipped 385,458 units this quarter. It is down from an impressive figure of 629,222 units a year ago.
The IDC data, however, has not included Google/ASUS co-branded Nexus 7 as the product began shipping into the channel in the third quarter of 2012.
The research and analysis firm expects the tablet war to escalate in 2012.
Bob O’Donnell, program vice president, Clients and Displays, reminds of Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows RT-based tablets starting in late October.
“In addition to major new products from Amazon and quite likely Apple, we can also expect an influx of Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows RT-based tablets,” he said.
He notes that people will have too many options from which to choose this holiday season.
“Consumers baffled by the differences between Amazon and Google versions of Android, or Windows 8 and Windows RT, may well default to market leader Apple. Or they may simply choose to remain on the sideline for another cycle,” he said.
The next new tablet to hit the shelves would be Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. The tablet is rumored to feature 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixels display, dual-core 1.4GHz processor, microSD card slot and 5-megapixel with LED flash support. The tablet will start selling from August 15.
Google’s highly anticipated Nexus 7 tablet started selling in June. The tablet has a 7-inch screen, a quad-core processor and the Android Jellybean operating system. Currently, only two models of the Nexus 7 have been made available. The one with 8GB storage is priced at $199 in the US, and the 16GB variant is priced at $249.
There is also the software giant Microsoft which has confirmed the release of Surface tablet on October 26, two months after the reported release of Galaxy Note 10.1. The Surface tablet line has two models – Windows 8 RT version and a Windows 8 Pro model.
While Windows 8 RT Surface will include Nvidia’s ARM-based chipset, 10.6-inch widescreen HD display with Gorilla Glass and VaporMg magnesium case, Windows Pro tablet uses Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors and has a 10.6-inch touchscreen. It comes in 64GB and 128GB capacities. Read more on the Microsoft tablet here.
Apple’s iPad undoubtedly still rules the tablet market, but can it cement its position with the arrival of new and cutting-edge models? It would be a hard fought race if Apple continues to stay on top.