Is the iPad the new tablet?

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Allegedly there are some concerns that “iPad” could become the generic name for all tablets. If so, like the aspirin tablet back in the last century, there is a risk of it loosing its trademark status. We wonder if Apple might regret simply calling the third generation device the new iPad!

Gartner have just published their updated forecast for tablet sales by operating system as per our graphic (with the odd rounding {+/-1} elimination). They / their research vice president Carolina Milanesi, make several interesting points:

  • “…competitors have waited to see what Apple would bring out
  • …..very few announcements of new media tablets at either the Consumer Electronics Show or Mobile World Congress
  • Gartner expects enterprises to allow tablets as part of their buy your own device (BYOD) program. More of these tablets will be owned by consumers who use them at work.
  • This poses a big threat to vendors that thought about focusing on the enterprise market who will now have to become appealing to consumers as well, This is exactly the same trend that vendors such as RIM had to face in the smartphone market. The difference here is that tablets have been created for consumers first and then relied on an ecosystem of apps and services that make them more manageable in the enterprise.
  • Despite the arrival of Microsoft-based devices to this market, and the expected international rollout of the Kindle Fire, Apple will continue to be the market leader through the forecast period.”

We particularly liked the last comment on the Kindle Fire which, hopefully, implies that it will likely be available in the UK later this year.

Whilst on the topic it is, we think, a measure of the current dominance of Apple in this market that it possibly sold in the first weekend after the new iPad’s launch  more than amazon sales of Kindle Fires were in whole of the first quarter of 2012! In Q4 of 2011 Kindle Fires were likely the second most popular tablet with sales around the 4 million level.

Apple are due to announce their second quarters results, including product unit sales, on  April 24  so we should get definitive information on sales then. Looking at last year just under 12% of its iPad sales took place in calendar Q1 which  applying to Gartner’s figures would imply 8.5 million units which is below many figures we have seen around the 10-12 million level.

We will, as before, pre April 24 try to gather the Institutional and Independent analysts views, along with our wild guesses, to compare with the actual outcome!

Now where’s the aspirin!

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