A new report from technology research firm Gartner predicts Apple’s iPad will once again dominate tablet sales this holiday shopping season.
According to the report, a total of 63.6 million tablets will be sold in 2011 through the holiday season, and Apple’s iPad will account for nearly three-quarters of them. Last year an estimated 17.6 million tablets were sold, 83 percent of them iPads.
“We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014,” said Gartner research vice president Carolina Milanesi. “This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal.”
Android tablets are the iPad’s closest competition, but only about 11 million of them are expected to be sold this year, mainly due to high prices, a weak user interface and limited tablet applications, Milanesi said.
What about 2012? Gartner analysts believe other tablets need to bring out a strong number of features, such as an intuitive user interface and easy sharing between devices, to come even close to competing with Apple.
Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, said: “Most of Apple's competitors are struggling to meet Apple's prices without considerably sacrificing margins. Screen quality and processing power are the two hardware features that vendors cannot afford to compromise on. They should consider everything else nice to have’ rather than 'essential,' in order to keep bills-of-materials costs competitive with those of the iPad.”