Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

Summary: Not a single tablet competing with the iPad has garnered enough consumer sales to even prove there is a sizable market for non-iPads, much less affect it.

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Tablets are everywhere, everyone will be buying tablets. That seems to be the mantra for those forecasting consumer electronics sales, but the truth is the iPad is the only tablet that is selling in numbers. While it may seem prudent to base tablet forecasts on the healthy sales numbers of the iPad, the fact is the only proven market for tablets has been built by Apple. Not a single competing tablet has garnered enough consumer sales to even prove there is a market, much less affect it.

The latest numbers by IDC as reported by Between the Lines show this is the case if you read between the lines. That forecast showed that tablet shipments dropped 28 percent in the first quarter of this year, failing to meet previous expectations. A factor in the lower shipping numbers was supply-side problems causing Apple to move less iPads than expected. In spite of the rash of Android tablets released to date, not a single one of them has sold in volumes to prove a sizable market exists for non-iPads.

In spite of the drop in tablets shipped in the first quarter, IDC raised its forecast for the rest of the year to 53.5 million. It based that increased forecast on "the entrance of competitive new devices in the second half of 2011", while admitting that "demand for the category may not be quite as strong as recent media hype suggests". In other words there has been no proof to date that a sizable consumer market exists for tablets that are not iPads.

It is not clear what competitive new devices might be hitting later this year to grab a big piece of that tablet pie. Android tablets released to date haven't set any sales records, in fact some companies producing them have reduced production capacity for them due to low sales. On the non-Android front, neither the PlayBook from RIM nor the recently released TouchPad from HP have gotten good press. Both of those companies have stated they are focusing those tablets on the enterprise due to worst-than-expected launches. That doesn't sound like either will set the consumer world on fire.

Should companies producing consumer tablets give up? Heavens no, I hope they keep making lots of shiny new tablets to keep us entertained. But I don't believe they should bet the farm on the commercial success of them just yet, and I certainly don't think analysts should be forecasting huge consumer sales. I have two Android tablets, a PlayBook, and a TouchPad, but I am still not convinced there is a consumer market for tablets without an Apple logo on the back.

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Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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33 comments
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  • The iTunes effect

    Look at the amount of iTune accounts out there, whether you have a single iPhone, iPod, or even Apple TV you need iTunes to use them.

    So when it comes time for a tablet for those that want one, it's easier to go with an iPad because you have the account, music, apps, whatever already.

    Why open a second, different account someplace else for yet more money every month?
    William Pharaoh
    • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

      @William Pharaoh [i]Why open a second, different account someplace else for yet more money every month?[/i]

      That is certainly a reason to stay in the Apple ecosystem. Though I know quite a lot of people without an iTunes account. I imagine those would be the individuals the "other" tablet makers are targeting. It's just not working...
      Badgered
      • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

        @Badgered with iOS 5, devices will be autonomous I believe.
        CowLauncher
      • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

        @CowLauncher [i]with iOS 5, devices will be autonomous I believe. [/i]

        Good to know... Though I presume it will still require an iTunes account?
        Badgered
      • @ Badgered

        But no credit card will be required. So much like Google Docs requires a Google account to have the docs tied to , iCloud will need some account to tie the service to. But each case, no credit card is needed.
        Bruizer
    • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

      @William Pharaoh As someone who has actually tried to use iTunes software on my pc, for me, NOT using iTunes is a compelling selling point for Android. My family are being weened off of "iDevices" as soon as their accounts run out.

      I like being able to buy from whaever source I choose, and simply COPY my content onto my device.
      dimonic
    • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

      Tablets for 10 years did not sell, so this is news? The only reason the iPad is a success is that it is... A iPad. Yes, people love iPad, but they hate tablets, just like they always have.
      veggiedude
  • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

    Did you sell your Galaxy Tab? Though that was your favorite.
    gmich
    • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

      @gmich Still have it and use it daily.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

        @JamesKendrick Hello James, just curious about your statement that "...I am still not convinced there is a consumer market for tablets without an Apple logo on the back". Why do you say that? Is it strictly the power of Apple hype? Why do you love your Galaxy Tab and what do you use it on? Are those things that the typical consumer wouldn't like?
        robslusher
      • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

        @JamesKendrick Apple market share is less than last year and it will only continue to go down. Just like Android phones, it doesn't make sense to compare one Android vendor's tablet to the iPad. You need to compare the sales of all tablets together against the iPad and see where things stand. It's basically the comparison of one OS to another. Let's face it, the iPad hardware is inferior to a few of the Android tablets at the moment so the main difference is the OS.
        mrxxxman
  • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

    Picked up the Tab 10.1 on release day. I absolutely love it.
    tech_monster
    • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

      @tech_monster Yes, I've been recommending family and friends to get either the Galaxy Tab, Toshiba Thrive, or a netbook.
      mrxxxman
  • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

    IDC noted all tablets missed their targets including the iPad 2 so I don't see how you think this is any better.

    The Android Tablets on the IDC report also showed roughly half of Apple's Market share for the year and that will likely improve. If the report added the color Nook to the equation then Android Tablets were about 75% of the iPad 's market share.

    Anyone that is interested, other sites show the actual numbers and reports.
    slickjim
    • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

      @Peter Perry We will know for sure next week when we see how many Ipad 2's were actually sold.
      murving
      • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

        @murving You will never know that because Apple practices Channel Stuffing as well... Reports came out stating that Apple counts an iPad sold when iit is shipped to another reseller like Walmart and Best Buy so they will show x amount shipped and count them as sold.
        slickjim
  • I won't be buying a pad anytime soon

    Anyone who isn't worried about a status symbol will wait until the product matures, just like I use XP until Windows 7 came along. IMO, maturity is a long way off.
    ron.cleaver@...
  • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

    Lets face the facts here, tablets were nothing more than media hype. Even the ZDNet bloggers were trying to push this device as best as they could. Now its funny to watch it backfire on them. The tablet was never meant to be a mass consumer device because of its very nature. Its awkward to hold and inputting information is a chore all in itself. People are finally coming to grips with his and my previous comments about tablets are starting to ring true. You should have listened to me.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

      @LoverockDavidson I am curious what your thoughts are about the Windows tablets that will be coming next year along with Windows 8? Microsoft seems to think that the tablet market is important to them.
      murving
      • RE: Tablet forecast dropping, but iPad going strong

        @murving
        Tablet is a form-factor of either computing or media entertainment device. The combination of Win8 and tablet form-factor will, I believe, meet the requirement of many many people in the enterprise and commercial markets. Perhaps one way to look at the tablet is: it creates a distinction between personal and commercial/enterprise computing. In the past, this distinction was achieved by the added HW/SW that were geared towards the commercial/enterprise environment: e.g. bit-locker, trust computing, remote log-in, etc. It is quite possible (time will tell) that tablets for consumers and for commercial/enterprise are built differently in the future.
        PWsY