iPad has tablet market sewn up through 2012


iPad has tablet market sewn up through 2012

Alex Scroxton

Despite a flood of rival products in development, including offerings from Dell, Lenovo, Cisco's Cius and HP's webOS and Microsoft Windows tablets, Apple's iPad is unlikely to face a viable competitor before early 2011 and will maintain its market sector dominance through 2012, according to figures from tech analysts iSuppli.

This year, the iPad will account for 74.1% of global tablet ships, with the remainder consisting of older PC type tablet products and a few slate devices.

Predicting further ahead, analysts believe that Apple will maintain 70.4% of shipments next year, and 61.7% in 2012.

"Although the iPad has been on the market for only a few months, powerful interests are devoting enormous resources to challenge and topple Apple's domination," said iSuppli monitor research director Rhoda Alexander.

"However," she added. "If recent history is any lesson it will take some time for these companies to get their products to market, longer for them to offer encessary software support and infrastructure, and an even lengthier period to begin to rival the overall user experience."

ISuppli has based its predictions on the experience of the iPhone, which although it faced competition from a litany of other smartphones when launched three years ago, is only now starting to see comparable competitors, such as the Motorola Droid or HTC Evo, coming to market.

Alexander added that although competitive products were in the works, nothing currently in development would prove a serious iPad competitor because rivals such as Dell, HP and Lenovo cannot yet offer an integrated hardware and software design.

Competing with the iPad's suite of applications will also be a technical stumbling block for many competitors coming from the PC world, and Alexander said it was likely the first competitive devices might come from smartphone devices, although HP's acquisition of Palm put the world's largest IT company in an advantageous position.

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