When Apple’s iPad debuted last year, many analysts were cautious with their predictions for the device, and rightfully so. But, now that the iPad’s been around for several months and sales numbers have proven its popularity, those same analysts find themselves revising numbers and updating forecasts for 2011.
The explosion of tablets expected in the marketplace this year, along with additional consumer surveys, supply-side research, and sales numbers from Apple, led Forrester Research to increase their consumer tablet forecast for 2010 to 10.3 million devices. They expect tablet sales to grow even more this year and predict them to more than double to 24.1 million units, with Apple leading the way through 2012.
There are certainly a number of factors influencing Forrester’s revised numbers, one of which is their assumption that the iPad is more of a “lifestyle device” with a replacement cycle more similar to cellphones and MP3 players than PCs. They speculate “many first-gen iPads will end up entertaining the kids in the back of the car while Mom and Dad get the shiny new (likely Facetime-compatible) model.”
Clearly Forrester believes Apple will enjoy the lion share of the tablet market for the foreseeable future but they also recognize there’s room for more than one player. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook, Microsoft’s Windows-based tablets, and tablets that run on HP’s and Nokia’s platforms will all make an impact; however, we’ll have to wait and see how significant it will be.