Apple iPad's Big Year: 10 Reasons Why the Tablet Is on a Roll in 2011

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-07-11

Apple iPad's Big Year: 10 Reasons Why the Tablet Is on a Roll in 2011

In March, when Apple unveiled the iPad 2, the company famously said that 2011 would be the "year of the iPad." At the time, there were several interpretations of what that might mean. Some said that it could mean Apple would only focus on the iPad for its mobile strategy. Others guessed that Apple would offer up different iPads to deliver a tablet for just about any customer in the market.

But now, months after the iPad 2 has launched, the "Year of the iPad" might just mean that  Apple was expecting big things from its tablet. Perhaps it had nothing to do with more devices or the company's strategy, but something to do with the events surrounding the iPad 2 that have not only helped it stay in headlines for months, but continue to captivate both consumers and IT decision makers alike.

Simply put, many things have combined to make 2011 the "year of the iPad." And by the look of things, there isn't a single company, device, or person that will be able to change that.

Read on to find out why Apple has made good on its promise to make 2011 the year of the iPad.

1. The iPad 2 is an important step up

The first step in making 2011 a special year for Apple and its tablet was delivering the iPad 2. And that device, by nearly all measures, is a fine improvement over its predecessor. It delivers a thinner, lighter design, dual cameras for video chatting and photo snapping and the option of choosing between a black or white design for any customer's preference. Without a solid release this year, 2011 couldn't have been the iPad's year. But thanks to the iPad 2, it now is.

2. Sales don't lie

If there is any solid metric for determining whether 2011 has been the iPad's year, it's the sales figures. So far, the iPad has sold extremely well. During Apple's second fiscal quarter ended March 26, the company sold a whopping 4.69 million iPad units. Even better for Apple, it has forecast that it has sold millions more in its fiscal third quarter. Considering that no other tablet has even come close to matching iPad sales and sales are the best indicator for determining the success of a device, how could anyone say that 2011 hasn't been the iPad's year so far?

3. Where's the competition?

If one considers the competitive landscape the iPad 2 finds itself in, they will quickly find that Apple's tablet reigns supreme. The Motorola Xoom was supposed to be the iPad killer, and that never materialized. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is shaping up to be a fine competitor, but it isn't the iPad 2. Until a serious competitor materializes, Apple's iPad will continue to reign supreme in the tablet market.

4. The enterprise is warming to the iPad

The corporate world has always been standoffish when it comes to the iPad. But during an earnings call with investors earlier this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that many of the largest companies in the world are currently testing the iPad and considering bringing the device to their operations. Apple's iPad is becoming a suitable enterprise device, and that alone is a major achievement, considering how unfavorably Apple has been viewed by IT staff over the years.

The iPad Gains Ground on All Fronts


5. The apps keep coming

According to Apple, it now has over 100,000 applications in the App Store available for its iPad. If the iPad wasn't as successful as it is and other devices had been appealing to consumers, developers would have been focusing their efforts elsewhere. But in the tablet market, they're still decidedly on Apple's side. That isn't likely to change through the rest of the year.

6. A promise of more to come

Recent rumors have suggested that Apple will be launching one, maybe two, new iPads later this year. One of those devices will feature an updated design and a new display. The iPad 3, on the other hand, will be a major upgrade over its predecessor. Whether Apple will actually release new iPads this year remains to be seen. But the fact that such rumors are circulating suggests it will, which naturally fires consumers' interest and helps ensure that the iPad will keep dominating the headlines and the tablet market this year.

7. It's everywhere one turns

Another reason for its success this year is simply that the device has been seen everywhere. When one turns on television shows, they'll see folks using Apple's tablet. The iPad is on display in movies. The device is in headlines from media outlets both big and small. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Apple's ads are everywhere. Simply put, the iPad 2 is omnipresent in today's world. Whether it will be next year remains to be seen, but right now, 2011 is the year of Apple's iPad.

8. It's keeping Android at bay

One of the central successes of the iPad 2 has been its ability to stop Android from catching up in the tablet market. Whereas Android-based smartphones have easily overshadowed the iPhone, Android has yet to sink its teeth into iOS in the tablet market. Although some analysts say that will eventually change, that shift won't happen this year. The iPad 2's success against Android has made 2011 a bellwether year for the tablet.

9. It's the benchmark

Each year, there are some devices that are drawn into comparisons with all other products. This year, that device is the iPad 2. Whether it's another tablet, a netbook, or a Chromebook, just about everyone is seeing how it stacks up against Apple's tablet. Best of all from Apple's perspective is that an argument can be made that the iPad 2 can trump all those devices (among others). The iPad 2 is this year's benchmark, which makes 2011 the year of the iPad.

10. It's making people forget about Jobs' absence

One of the iPad's most surprising feats this year has been its ability to make consumers and even investors, to some extent, forget that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is still on a medical leave of absence. As with any other public company, Apple is judged not by who runs it, but by how much money it makes. Over the past year, the iPad has been delivering boatloads of cash to Apple and its investors. Not even worries about Jobs' health can put a damper on that news.

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