Tablet sales have exploded over the past year with approximately 68.4 million units sold in 2011. This year, the market is expected to grow even more with 126.6 million tablet forecasted for 2012. IHS iSuppli predicts that Apple’s iPad will maintain its dominance with 61 percent of the market share by the end of the year.
Apple’s share fell to 55.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 due to the popularity of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The Android-based tablet helped Google’s operating system capture 41.1 percent of the tablet market in 4Q11, up 10 percent from the previous quarter. However, the Kindle Fire’s popularity seems to have dwindled over the past few months and Android’s share is expected to fall to 38.4 percent for 2012.
“The key to Apple’s media-tablet success has been its offering of a complete hardware-plus-content ecosystem,” said Rhoda Alexander, director for monitors and tablets research at IHS. “The combination of a good-looking device, well-designed applications, video, books and music has provided consumers with an easy-to-use product and an appealing use case. Such an ecosystem took Apple years to put together, starting with the iPod plus iTunes Music Store more than nine years ago, and it’s proving to be a challenge for the company’s competitors to replicate it.”
IHS iSuppli also referenced the rumored iPad mini as part of Apple’s continued dominance in the tablet market for 2012. “A smaller screen does not necessarily mean a substantially lower price; rather, IHS expects Apple will place continuing emphasis on the quality of the overall tablet experience and the benefits of selecting the company’s products.”
Although the popularity of tablets is skyrocketing with each year, and non-iOS operating systems continue to improve, Apple continues to dominate due to an uncompromising attention to quality and design, as well as an application infrastructure that us unmatched by any other marketplace around.