Report: Apple iPad to dominate tablet market for years

Apple’s popular iPad is expected to dominate the tablet market until at least 2012.

According to iSuppli, the iPad will account for an “overwhelming” 74.1 percent of global tablet shipments in 2010, with the remaining 25.9 percent comprising a mix of older PC-type tablet products and competitive slates.

“Despite the arrival of the first real iPad competitors in 2011, Apple still will maintain a prevailing 70.4 percent share of shipments,” Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at iSuppli told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“Even in 2012, the iPad will continue to control nearly two-thirds of shipments, at 61.7 percent, as the competition strives to develop ecosystems of tablet apps and content that can match up with those of Apple.”

Alexander explained that although the iPad has only been on the market for a relatively short period of time, “powerful interests” were devoting enormous resources to challenge and topple Apple’s current rule.

“However, if recent history is any lesson, it will take some time for these companies to get their products to market, longer for them to offer necessary software support and infrastructure and an even lengthier period to begin to rival the overall user experience Apple is able to deliver.”

Rhoda noted that Apple’s iPhone was also quickly followed by a slew of competing devices during the next five months to two years. 

“Still, it took almost three years for the competition to offer phones that were not just in the ballpark of being comparable to the iPhone, but also were truly differentiated and superior in some respects. These phones today include the Motorola Droid, coming 29 months after the iPhone introduction; and the HTC Evo 4G, released 36 months later.

“[Yes, there are] numerous products [attempting to be] iPad competitors, such as Android- and Windows 7-based tablets from HP, Dell and Lenovo. However, none [are] a serious competitor to the iPad from a solution perspective.”

She added that it was still very “unlikely” for the current generation of competing tablets to equal the overall performance experience of the iPad, despite matching or exceeding some of the unit’s surface hardware specifications.

“Apple’s interface and many of its applications are geared to the pixels per inch (ppi) and screen configuration of the iPad, optimizing their appearance on that device. Developers designing applications to work across the broader base of new offerings from the various competitors are facing a mix of pixel densities, screen sizes and touch technologies.

“[Clearly], Apple’s complete integration of hardware, software, operating system and applications is a major piece of what makes the device a standout. And on that basis – an integrated hardware/software design – we don’t see anything in the marketplace at present that seems likely to rival what Apple is offering in tablets today.”