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Apple Dominates Tablet Computing

If you need any indication of just how much Apple dominates the tablet market, you just need to glance at this chart:

© Business Insider

The developments at HP in the last week just further strengthen this position. HP announced that it had decided to stop manufacturing its webOS devices, and held a fire-sale of all HP TouchPad tablets. The TouchPad was the number two tablet on the market, even if this was far behind the figures for the iPad.

Part of the difficulty for other companies is that Apple has an aggressive price strategy. The iPad, starting at €499, is a low cost device. In the past, Apple had a reputation for producing expensive products. Although this belief was generally misplaced, it meant that other companies could cut a few corners and sell products at a lower price tag, giving the illusion of Apple being more expensive. However in the tablet market, Apple have pitched the iPad aggressively since it was launched in 2010. They have also made some large deals with LCD manufacturers, such as Samsung, which makes it difficult for other companies to have any room.

If we are to look at history for lessons here, the iPad seems to be following the iPod model more than that of the Macintosh. With the iPod, Apple entered a market ahead of the competition and aggressively defended its position by opening up its devices to all areas- Mac and Windows users. It also defended its pole position with low cost models, such as the iPod mini, then nano and more recently, the shuffle.

With the iPad, Apple have pitched their tablets as a high value products, but no other manufacturer has been able to beat it on price. The exception was HP’s fire-sale this week, where it sold its 16GB TouchPad for $99. This was a complete exception to the rule, and showed that under-cutting the iPad is very much the exception rather than the rule.

Apple dominates tablets and all other manufacturers are attempting to copy its GUI and price model. It seems that the only way to beat the iPad and gain traction in this market will be for a company to come up with an entirely different model, and catch Apple off-guard. There are no signs of this happening to date.
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