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Gartner reports iPad as top tablet until at least 2014

Apple is anticipated to hold more than 50 percent of the tablet market for the next few years, well ahead of Android and Microsoft platforms

In a press release Thursday, technology advisory company Gartner, Inc. announced its latest estimates on the booming tablet market. As expected, Apple’s iPad will reign supreme as competitors continue to struggle on how to best offer high-performance experiences at competitive prices. Overall, the iPad is projected to maintain a 73.4 percent worldwide market share at the end of 2011, down almost 10 percent from 2010.

In fact, Gartner vice president, Carolina Milanesi, predicts at least a 50 percent market share for the iPad to last until 2014. She praised Apple’s foresight to lock down on key component suppliers before other competitors even had the chance to, which allowed the iPad to sell at very competitive prices with no compromises in user experience. In addition, the more impressive synergy between Apple hardware and software puts it on top of competitors by a wide margin.

Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal,” said Milanesi.

As for other operating systems, Android is currently seen as the biggest threat with key OEMS and large developer communities under its belt. But until Google addresses the fragmentation issues across Android smartphones and tablets later this year with Ice Cream Sandwich, Apple will continue to have the upper hand from all fronts. “So far, Android’s appeal in the tablet market has been constrained by high prices, weak user interface and limited tablet applications,” explained Milanesi. While the current forecast for Android tablets has been reduced by 28 percent from last quarter, Gartner still expects 11 million units to ship before the end of the year and over double that in 2012.

Meanwhile, the launch of Windows 8 may not be all that threatening to Apple, at least in the tablet world. Its late attendance in the market could make it more difficult to compete against the already established iOS and Android userbases, although Gartner anticipates that the platform will find healthy sales in the enterprise and IT markets. Even RIM’s new QNX platform is expected to move more units than Windows 8 worldwide by almost 2 million in 2012.

In all, the tablet market as a whole is healthy at a projected 63.6 million units shipped before the end of 2011, which would be 261.4 percent more units than 2010. By 2015, that total could increase to over 326.3 million, or just over 5 times the current trend. Hit the press release below for more worldwide tablet sales numbers from Gartner.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-09-23 (Update: 2012-05-26)