Apple iPad Sure to Lose Market Share in Face of Growing Competition

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-11-15 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Competing products give consumers other choices, many of which are not tablets, cost less and are capable of doing as least as much as the Apple iPad.

The Apple iPad gives the impression of being invincible. If you believe Apple's propaganda and the clamor of the iPad partisans, the one true religion is the iPad, and its prophet is written in the "Book of Jobs." The truth is, the iPad's overwhelming market share has nowhere to go but down. 

This does not necessarily mean that iPad sales will drop or even slow. Ultimately, Apple's biggest challenge is retaining the image of dominance when there are so many other choices out there. Adding to the challenge, as I've found it in my own search for a tablet device of some sort, is that a tablet computer is not necessarily the solution to all needs, despite the assertions of its most passionate users. 

In fact, there are a lot of things that could be better about the iPad-most strikingly, the price. This is a very expensive product, considering it's not all that necessary for most people. Instead, it's a lot like the iPod Touch-basically a very cool toy.

Now, I have a Touch, and I love it, but it's not something that I consider essential. I have other ways that I could play music, I have other ways to check e-mail, and other ways to view Web pages. In other words, the iPod Touch is an indulgence-something I like but don't need. The same thing is true for the iPad for the vast majority of its users. 

So when Rodman & Renshaw predicted that iPad sales might be below estimates for the fourth quarter, as Nick Kolakowski reports, there should be little surprise. It's an expensive indulgence. What's more, it now has some stiff competition. The Galaxy Tab is at least as much of an indulgence, and it's just as expensive. Whether it's better or worse than the iPad is a subjective judgment. 

The fact is, much of what people might want to use the iPad to accomplish is available elsewhere for less money. If you need a highly portable, inexpensive means of checking e-mail and even watching movies, HP is selling its latest netbook for less than $300. If you want an e-reader, the Kindle and Nook cost less than $200. The point is that not everyone sees the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab as essential purchases.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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