Saturday, March 5, 2011

The iPad's biggest competitor hasn't been invented yet

Steve Jobs had some strong words for Apple's competitors as he launched the iPad 2 in San Francisco earlier this week. Apple's chief executive said that the original iPad, released less than a year ago, had left the competition "flummoxed". "They went back to the drawing boards," he said. "They tore up their designs because they weren't competitive."

What might sound like hubris to those who are unconvinced by the fervour that sounds any new Apple product is largely supported by the facts. By the end of 2010, Apple had sold 15 million iPads. The company estimates its share of the market at 90 per cent or more. The most pessimistic view of Apple's place in the tablet market right now suggests that its share may have fallen as low as 75 per cent in the last quarter of 2010. Overall, though, the tablet market remains Apple's.

The competition is growing, however. Motorola's Xoom tablet, released in the US last month and due in Britain some time next month, has had generally positive reviews; there are high hopes for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which is expected next month; and Samsung is about to release the second version of its Galaxy Tab, the first version of which was greeted enthusiastically by technology writers but, by the company's own estimation, failed to sell in significant numbers.


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