It’s painfully obvious that the Apple iPad continues to dominate the market, and will do so for the foreseeable future. Let’s look the evidence, examine the various ways in which the iPad has had a positive impact on the world as a whole, and define exactly what makes one tablet “better” than another.
Before we begin, a note. All Apple products are designed to produce an emotional response in the consumer – while some will love the devices, myself included – this inevitably means some will absolutely hate it. Both sides will rant and rave until they’re all out of hot air, and it can get quite heated in there.
If you don’t like the Apple ethos and think your brand of tablet is better, then great for you. The rest of the world disagrees it would seem, but hey – it’s ok to disagree and there’s certainly nothing wrong being in the minority. No one is forcing you to buy an iPad, so don’t degrade others for their choice by calling them mindless sheep or victims of the great Apple marketing machine. If you are happy with your device, whatever it is, then that’s great.
“Consumers don’t want tablets, they want iPads” – All Things D
The most recent Apple event unveiled some interesting stats about the iPad. Not only does the iPad currently hold a whopping 68.3% of the ‘tablet’ market – up from 65.7% at the start of the year; it’s also taking that share away from Android. In spite of multiple Android devices flooding the market – or perhaps because of that – Android’s share dropped from 34% to 26.8%. Add to that the iPad’s 95% customer satisfaction, with 3 out of every 4 tablets sold being iPads – and it’s obvious who the winner is here.
The iPad is such a solid, reliable, versatile and accessible device that it really has found its way into everything. “There’s an app for that” isn’t referring to the Android marketplace, by the way.
Every state in the US is now trialling the iPad in various levels of schooling, some even on a one device to one student basis. Only time will tell if this is a gimmicky waste of money, or the next great educational paradigm shift.
iPads are even replacing mountains of paperwork on flights – replacing as much as 40-pound bags with a single lightweight device. Presumably, the pilots turn them off during takeoff though :)
Apple also claims that 95% of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying the iPad, an incredible number that not only means the iPad will continue to dominate the market share, but it also means a knock-on effect of increasing the Apple share of the general computing market too – as executives warm to the ethos and demand that their systems be switched over to Apple. Scoff if you like at their foolishness, but companies place huge orders and serve to shift the entire computing ecosystem. Here’s a break down of the current enterprise market:
It’s this sheer momentum that leaves the iPad in the leading spot, and it’s domination only set to accelerate.
Children will become comfortable with an iPad at school, then inevitably buy into Apple later in life or nag their parents. The iPad isn’t just a profitable enterprise for Apple – it’s a marketing device all on it’s own.
For Android, that kind of game plan simply wouldn’t work. The Android experience doesn’t tie into any particular desktop computing. Get familiar with the Android OS, and then what? It doesn’t seamlessly integrate with Windows, or even the Google cloud OS. It’s desktop-independent for sure; so it’s also not driving sales of anything other than itself. Where do users go from there?
What Does The Future Hold?
I must admit I’m excited about the Kindle Fire. Amazon is clearly tackling the market differently. Where as most tablets try to compete with similar device specs, or better than the iPad – often with similar prices, if not more expensive. Amazon is carving out their own market.
The iPad is an expensive device – yet there’s a large number of consumers who desire a tablet and simply can’t afford that. The Kindle Fire is there for them, at a fantastic price point of $199. It’s not as powerful as the iPad, but that’s okay too, it doesn’t need to be at that price! I haven’t even looked at the specs for the Kindle Fire though, and do you know why?
It’s Not About The Hardware:
I constantly hear about the latest Android tablet in purely hardware terms -“oooh, it’s got a 2.1GhZ dual-core processor, with 1gb of RAM and 4 USB ports, plus an SD card slot! Just imagine how much serious computing you can do on that!” But here’s the thing – it isn’t about the hardware at all.
Rather, it’s about the user experience, and this is one point in which Apple nails it with a solidly packaged experience that resonates with the majority of users. Haters will say iOS is crippled and closed – but it’s precisely the fact that it’s so locked down which means the proliferation of mobile-malware on Android devices has never even touched the iOS environment. Which do you think the world would rather have – a malware infested mobile that needs manual memory management, or something more restricted that provides a more satisfying overall experience?
Make no mistake, Apple marketing is great. Is that really a good argument against the device though? Apple’s marketing has always focussed on genuine, real world usage. Let’s compare the TV advertising spots for both the Android-based Motorola Xoom, and the iPad 2.
Laughable. It barely shows the actual device, with short distant clips of generic apps. I wonder why? In fact, the commercial seems intent on trying to make it cool to not like Apple – appealing to the Apple haters market, perhaps? A viable tactic, I guess. It strikes me as straight out of art school, and certainly doesn’t make we want the thing. There’s certainly no lasting emotional connection.
Then we have Apple. No arty movie sequence, no special effects, no digs at the competition. Just the device, the apps, and the people using it in the real world. It doesn’t need to do anything more than simply show the device and it’s usage. It doesn’t need a storyline, but there is a definite emotional connection.
That’s how I see it playing out right now. There’s still a good chance someone could rock the boat, and the Kindle seems to have the best shot at it. But the other tablets have so far failed miserably, and nothing will change on that front.
In memory of Steve Jobs, who demanded the best and enriched people’s lives, and for whom the world is a better place.