Apple's tablet rivals are apparently slamming on the brakes.
That's according to JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, who suggested in a recent research note that Samsung, Motorola and other manufacturers are reducing build plans for their respective tablet offerings, following a lukewarm reception by consumers and businesses.
"Non-Apple tablet hopefuls have adjusted to the weak showing so far," he wrote, according to the International Business Times. "In our view, the technical and form factor improvements of the iPad 2 stand to make it tougher for the first generation of competitive offerings to play catch-up, meaning actual shipments could fall well short of plan."
Apple sold 4.7 million iPads in its fiscal 2011 second quarter, which saw the release of the iPad 2. Overall, the company's mobile devices helped buoy its overall revenues to $24.67 billion with a net profit of $5.99 billion.
The iPad's popularity could be having a noticeable effect on PC sales, which research firm IHS iSuppli pegged as falling 0.3 percent during the first quarter of the year. "The increasing momentum of the media-tablet market, led by the iPad, is creating a difficult environment for the PC industry," Matthew Wilkins, an analyst with the firm, wrote in a May 24 statement. "IHS believes that the jury is still out on exactly how much tablets are cannibalizing PC sales. However, the rising number of tablet models on the market, along with certain high-profile product launches during the first quarter, caused confusion among consumers as to exactly how to view the tablet platform relative to the PC platform."
That confusion, he added, "contributed to the PC sales decline in the first quarter."
Whether or not the iPad is having a negative impact on PCs, manufacturers certainly want a piece of the consumer tablet market that Apple helped create. The past several months have seen the release of everything from the Samsung Galaxy Tab to Resarch In Motion's BlackBerry-branded Playbook to the Motorola Xoom, the first device to run the tablet-optimized Android 3.0.
As each of these devices readied for its market debut, media and pundits chattered about its potential as an "iPad Killer," a tablet with the sales potential to challenge Apple's lock on the nascent market. So far, however, actual sales of each new tablet haven't come close to those of the iPad-although some, such as the 7-inch Galaxy Tab and RIM PlayBook, have reportedly posted respectable numbers.
Apple could face a substantial new rival in an Android-based tablet from Amazon.com, with Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster theorizing in a recent research note that the online retailer could sell as many as 2.4 million devices in 2012. Munster's note came in the wake of one by Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin, itself suggesting that Amazon is planning to release at least one Android tablet in time for the holiday 2011 season.
Munster also theorized that an Amazon tablet would barely affect sales of the Kindle e-reader. However, until Amazon actually announces a tablet, analyst conjecture necessarily remains in the land of the theoretical.