No more wishing for your two front teeth, it seems all consumers want for Christmas (or any other day) are iPads. Recent posts have suggested that Apple has become the de facto benchmark that all other tablets are compared against, but it turns out that the truth may be that there is no comparison.
Whether you credit them with having the best device or not, Apple got everybody’s attention with the release of the iPad. The industry has responded with competition and attempts at innovation and reinvention with varying success, but the iPad remains the market leader and go-to choice for many consumers. There are viable alternatives out there, many being produced and promoted by companies with as much reputation and marketing potential as Apple, so why aren’t they showing solid gains in the race for the top spot? New theories suggest that consumers don’t want tablets. They want iPads.
A recent Bernstein Research survey indicated that consumers were not interested in devices with form factors that were unlike that found with the iPad. This discovery, along with overwhelming brand recognition and loyalty spells one option for other companies trying to compete: make yourself as similar as possible or market yourself as something else entirely.
Marco Arment speculates this may be because “there really isn’t much of a ‘tablet market’,” though I have to respectfully disagree. He’s spot on with his observation that tablets are the same cost as low-end laptops and there is no question that productivity apps are nowhere near as effective on these smaller, less powerful devices. Fact is, I believe he’s missing the point.
I believe that a revolution has started. People are reevaluating their use of technology. Devices are becoming personal. Years ago, entire families shared a single computer where now it’s nearly a requirement for everybody to have something of their own. The tablet may not be a reasonable alternative in an office environment, but for the average home user who wants to surf the web, check their e-mail, bid on eBay and play a few rounds of Angry Birds… it’s ideal. Tablet devices are ultra portable, more durable than the average laptop and the hardware itself doesn’t become as antiquated quite as quickly. So perhaps it’s true that there hasn’t been much of a market for tablets… but I’d argue that there will be.
So right now, Apple is spearheading this movement. I say, let them. More iPads in the hands of consumers means momentum in the industry, and as this sector matures, people will be increasingly educated and able to choose alternatives if the competition continues to provide solid options.
[Via All Things D]