Apple's iPad is a strong holiday seller, according to an analyst. However, the tablet faces substantial competition from Research In Motion, Microsoft and others in 2011.
Apple's iPad faces a host of competitors in 2011, with Microsoft reportedly
readying several Windows-based tablets for debut at January's Consumer
Electronics Show and other manufacturers preparing their own first- or
For the moment, however, it seems that the iPad's sales record remained
strong through the year-end shopping season, with some analysts taking a
particularly strident position on the device's appeal to holiday consumers.
"Even with a handful of tablet competitors hitting the market, the iPad
remained the only game in town in our holiday checks largely because many of
the tablets hitting the market are junk for lack of a better word," Brian
Blair, an analyst with Wedge Partners, wrote
in a research note quoted in a Dec. 28 All Things Digital report
. "They are
underpowered, poorly constructed and largely not ready for prime time."
Reports from other analysts suggest robust iPad sales. "Computer hardware
ranks as the top growing category for the holiday season to date with a
25-percent increase versus last year," reads
a Dec. 19 note from research company comScore
. "Purchases of handheld
devices (such as Apple iPads and e-readers) and laptop computers drove much of
That comes despite prevalent rumors that Apple is preparing a
next-generation iPad for unveiling sometime in January. A Dec. 10 Reuters
article suggested that front- and rear-facing camera modules would appear on
that device, along with a higher-resolution screen.
Apple's competition in 2011 involves tablets targeted at both consumers and
the enterprise. The iPad currently constitutes some 82 percent of the business
market, according to a recent survey by ChangeWave, followed by Hewlett-Packard,
with 11 percent, and Dell, with 7 percent. In 2011, however, those numbers
change somewhat: 78 percent of corporate buyers indicate their eye is on the
iPad, followed by 9 percent each for Dell and Research In Motion tablets, 8
percent for HP, and 4 percent for Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
"Although the release of the RIM PlayBook isn't expected until late-1st
Quarter 2011, RIM (9 percent) is now tied with Dell (1 percent) for second
place in terms of future buying-a positive development for the Canadian
manufacturer," Paul Carton, ChangeWave's vice president of research, wrote in a
Dec. 15 research note.
Microsoft may also have a big tablet play in 2011, tied to the upcoming
release of Intel's Oak Trail processors, which supposedly offer better battery
life for lightweight devices. Microsoft will reportedly unveil a new line of
Windows 7 tablets at CES, according
to unnamed sources speaking to The New
More Android-based tablets are also set to enter the market during the first
quarters of 2011. But whether these companies can blunt the iPad's
holiday-sales momentum remains to be seen.