Apple iPad 2 Will Stand Aloof From Other Contenders

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-11-21 Print this article Print

In fact, if the iPad is in a battle, it's with itself. Because of the vast market share lead over everything else, Apple has to keep people from thinking about the iPad 3, due next spring, so they'll fork over their bucks for the current iPad 2. Apple has learned its lesson from the iPhone 4 sales slump in September as customers held off buying a new iPhone because they thought the iPhone 5 was about to be introduced.

Meanwhile, back to the e-reader fisticuffs. While neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble will reveal sales numbers for their e-readers, the smart money on sales goes to Amazon. The company has been pumping out Kindle Fire e-readers as fast as it can make them, to the point that there are several reports that the device sells out in stores within minutes of its arrival. While the Nook also sells well, all appearances are that its lack of seamless integration and its less dedicated software design make it less attractive to readers.

Then there is another entirely separate battleground. This conflict involves all of those Android tablets that are being sold mostly by the phone companies. The Galaxy Tab, the Xoom and the others are duking it out for sales to people who need something that Apple doesn't provide, and are happy to get it with a two-year phone company contract. The phone company lock-in and the hefty data plan pricing may explain why the iPad isn't in this fight.

The iPad, meanwhile, really doesn't have a field of battle exactly. It's set safely apart from the other contenders. While there's some overlap between the potential customers of all three types of devices, the existence of such a robust market validates the existence of all of them. Tablets are no longer a curiosity. They are now an established means of interacting with software, the Internet and media.

What this means is that it's more likely that there will be people who buy a Kindle Fire and already own an iPad, and use each for the part of their lives where they fit the best. Likewise, there will be those who have an Android tablet and a Fire (which also runs Android, but has a different interface).

Even the 7-inch Android tablets and the 7-inch e-readers don't overlap as much as it might seem. Each has its specific purpose and customers will buy the device that meets that specific need, even if it looks a lot like their other devices. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs 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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