AUSTRALIA: Ahead of Apple’s announcement today, Adam Leach, principal analyst of Ovum, has the following comment on the state of the current tablet market, and the challengers to the arrival of the next iteration of iPad.
“There is no doubt that Apple not only leads the tablet market with the iPad 2, but also created today’s arena for tablet devices. Since the introduction of the iPad other manufacturers have struggled to respond with products that have appealed to consumers in the same way. It is not the first time that Apple has enjoyed a first-mover advantage; however, we expect competition to get more intense through 2012.
“High on the list of challengers will be Google and Microsoft; both companies hoping to break into the growing tablet market by providing hardware manufacturers with the software platforms and developer ecosystems that will allow them to compete directly with Apple’s iOS. Google has finally bridged the smartphone and tablet divide with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), offering developers a unified platform for the two types of device. This should increase the number of tablet optimized applications, which were notably absent from Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).
“In addition, Microsoft is set to launch Windows 8 this year, targeting tablet devices with its Metro UI and build specifically for ARM-based chipsets. Microsoft’s introduction of Windows 8 on ARM and its shift away from Intel for tablets will drastically increase the company’s ability to compete on price point and user experience with Apple.
“However, it will take time for Android 4.0 and Windows 8 based products to come to market, and with an expected launch of the next iteration of iPad, Apple will retain its market leading position through 2012. Ovum expects the market for tablet and other mobile internet devices to exceed 235 million units by 2016.”