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

News Analysis: Apple said 2011 would be the iPad's year. So far Apple has fulfilled that expectation in terms of sales, consumer interest and market attention.

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.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...