Energized by the debut of the Apple iPad, the global tablet market is poised to move some 50 million units in 2014, according to a new report from In-Stat.
Released Monday, the research firm said the boost to the niche tablet segment also spells significant opportunities to component manufacturers.
Pointing to the iPad as an example, In-Stat said the success of Apple's device would help inject an additional US$4.1 billion into the semiconductor industry in 2014.
In an earlier report, IDC analyst Richard Shim estimated that Apple would sell 4 million to 5 million iPad devices this year, compared to a forecasted 1.3 million tablet PCs running Microsoft Windows. Of these tablet PCs, 170,000 will be slates; the majority are expected to be convertible laptops that have touchscreens and keyboards.
According to IDC figures, about 1 million tablets were sold last year. The research house attributed lackluster tablet sales over the past decade to prohibitive pricing, which it said Apple has addressed with the iPad. The device is priced at US$499 for entry level models.
In an earlier statement released after the iPad was unveiled, In-Stat said the device will also jolt the ebook market, armed with additional capabilities afforded by Web connectivity.
However, one analyst was less enthusiastic. Hydrasight's John Brand was doubtful of the iPad's ability to lead to a reemergence of the table market.
In an earlier interview with ZDNet Asia, Brand explained the tablet form factor would likely remain niche as it was not conducive to productivity. He added that the iPad would similarly follow its tablet ancestors and fail to achieve mainstream usage.