Desktops and Notebooks: Apple iPad 2 Debuts with Massive Lines, Big Expectations
Apple debuted the iPad 2 March 11 at 5 p.m. EST, following months of rumors. As expected, lines formed at Apple stores across the country, and the company's retail partners found their supplies of the 9.7-inch tablet stripped in a matter of hours. That early response could bode well for Apple, which faces a number of very aggressive competitors in the tablet space: The Motorola Xoom, a high-end device boasting the tablet-optimized Google Android 3.0 operating system, is just the first next-generation rival expected to arrive on store shelves in 2011. Data from research firm IDC suggests that Apple's share of the tablet market fell between the third and fourth quarters of 2010, from 93 percent to 73 percent. But IDC expects Apple to maintain a market share between 70 percent and 80 percent in 2011, powered largely by the iPad 2's performance. Even before the first die-hard fans began lining up for their tablet, analysts such as Gleacher & Co.'s Brian Marshall predicted the iPad 2 would sell as many as 600,000 units over the weekend. Based on the lines and general hoopla at certain stores, those numbers could certainly prove accurate. Apple is retailing the iPad 2 at the same price point as the original iPad, which could help boost adoption.