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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.

The Stats:

“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.


It’s Everywhere:

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 New Amazon Tablet Now Available Along With Three New Kindles [News] New Amazon Tablet Now Available Along With Three New Kindles [News] Amazon has finally launched their much awaited tablet – Kindle Fire. The new lean mean machine is basically a 7-inch Android tablet for only $199, on which you can do anything you would be able... Read More . 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 New Android Malware Could Share Calls With Remote Server [News] New Android Malware Could Share Calls With Remote Server [News] A devious new security threat targeted at Android devices has been uncovered, and this time it's your phone calls that could be stolen. The malware activates when a compromised smartphone makes a call. It’s recorded... Read More 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.

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  1. Kimmy Cleven
    October 28, 2011 at 4:11 am

     Can you give source links to your data about the tablet market because the numbers I have found do not show that Apple is up these days so I am confused as to why your numbers seem so much bigger than the ones I am seeing other places.

     Also, I am not finding this marketing post all helpful. It is not really comparing things to help project the market. Can you at least admit that Apple nose dived in computers and lost out to Microsoft because of it's rigid short comings? Apples where at least 15 years ago a computer repair techs worst nightmare to deal with. Granted they bounced well with some of there innovative products but those quickly seem to be out paced by other brands with more flexibility. I am a hard core tech user, not just videos as it seems you are so specs matter to me. I need the numbers and I need the sources for this to be any good to me.

      My husband is a programmer, and said computer tech back in the day and as such we have not had many Apple products and never found any I love enough to stick with. However I want a tablet as I love my Droid and all it does for me and my children. As for movies, it even has Netflix now too! But is it the best choice for a tablet I wonder? If I am going to push for an Ipad2 I better have the research to back up my choice to my husband so hopefully he doesn't make me sleep on the couch with my new toy to keep me company you know? LOL  Really though, I am not against Apple, I am just not sure they are not going to dive bomb as they have before as I keep seeing Droid getting better and better and as PC lover, viruses don't scare me. I can back things up amazingly well and it is so easy. Not so easy on anything iOS it seems though huh? I could be wrong.

     I am not going to call you a sheeple, you sound like a huge fan but not in my case a very helpful one.

    • James Bruce
      October 28, 2011 at 8:00 am

      The numbers are from Apple's own presentation keynote, sorry I dont have links.

      This isnt a marketing post. I'm not paid by apple, nor do I own any Apple shares, so there is very little benefit to me from everyone being an Apple user (other than a greater total happiness in the world - JOKE!). I'm simply reflecting on the state of the market.

      As for Apple taking a nosedive, perhaps you could share your sources? They have a greater market penetration in the computer world than ever before in their history - though it is still a measly 5% of the desktop market (and no, I don't have a source for that either - I believe I read it on techcrunch this morning though). That's still greater than ever before, so I'd be hard pressed to call that a nosedive.

      I'm afraid I can't comment on how easy Apples were to repair 15 years ago, as I was very much a PC user then. To compare anything from 15 years ago to today is kind of nonsense really. Things change in the tech industry year on year - and in another 15 years, the very concept of a computer may be so dramatically different that it doesn't bear thinking about.

      re: backups? I have never consciously "backed up" anything from my iPad. iTunes automatically does that whenever I sync, and now it does it to the cloud instead of to my PC, and wirelessly. Does Android do that - I dont know? Perhaps.

      Anyway, I'm not trying to convince you either way to buy an iPad or stick with droid. This post wasn't designed to be a "why I think iPads are awesome" - it was simply stating the facts, and an analysis of those facts and why they might be the case. For me to get into a "which is the best tablet" argument is not a good idea, and it always ends in tears ;) We can all get emotional sometimes, so I'll stay out of that one.

      I'd suggest you find a close friend who owns an iPad, and talk to them about some of the tasks you regularly wish to perform on your tablet. Ignore what you have now, and think about what you actually want to do. If your number one requirement is - I want to hack it, take it apart, plug in everything I have thats got a USB connection - then iPad probably isn't for you! ;) Sorry I can't be more helpful.

  2. michael ramos
    October 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    apple products rock, never shall i buy an android device after my transformer OS (android 3.1) let me down plenty of times; after exchanging for an ipad2 i noticed how solid and neat the iOS runs.

    • James Bruce
      October 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

      I would love it if you expanded on just how the android let you down. Just general suckiness of user interface, or were there specific issues?

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Joseslepian
    October 17, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Coincidentally, minutes after I wrote the above post, I came upon an article dated 10/16/11 indicating that Congress is investigating privacy concerns related to Amazon's required use of its tablet browser that routes and stores personal data in Amazon's cloud.

  4. Joseslepian
    October 17, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Somewhat off your main point [disclaimer: I am a lowly, hourly employee of Barnes & Noble], I am getting really tired of reviewers' bias in favor of anything new from Amazon. B & N has had its Nook Color out for about one year now. It won, among other things,  the People’s Choice Award at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. From the claims being made by Amazon, the Fire appears to do roughly the same things Nook color has been doing for a year now. It would seem, based upon representations by Amazon, that each device will have advantages over the other product (but no one mentions the negatives of the Fire). How about giving David a fair shot against Goliath and give the Nook color (and the Simple Touch) the positive press it (they) deserve.

    • James Bruce
      October 18, 2011 at 11:48 am

      Good input Joseslepian, but unfortunately I'm British, so Barnes and Noble means absolutely nothing to me. Apologies, but it simply hadn't occurred me as being a device for a global marketplace. 

      • Joseslepian
        October 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm

        Due to a recent change, if I'm not mistaken, one is now able to download from the B & N website IF charged to a U.S. credit card. This change may not help you much or help much of the "global marketplace," but it as least allows owners of nook devices, wherever purchased, to download content while visiting (long or short-term) overseas.

        • Tina
          October 22, 2011 at 11:55 am

          Thanks for the input, Jose!

    • Kimmy Cleven
      October 28, 2011 at 4:16 am

       Hands down Nook Color has kicked Kindles butt! Specially with being able to root it and basically make it an open android tablet. (not that I know anything about that.... LOL) And then the changes that have been upgraded. I think it deserved more press than it has gotten and now it is being overshadowed by the Kindle fire and I have not seen any side by side comparisons of them yet. I admit I like Amazon, however I am on Nooks side when it comes to digital books and hardware. I think though nook needs another marketing campaign very very soon to have any chance this holiday season. 

  5. Copcat
    October 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    pure add, and pure passivo agressivo 

  6. Not a Fanboy
    October 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I like apple as much as the next person but all the hate going at Android in this article is just sad. Viruses are so overplayed it is not even funny. Do you even know anyone who has ever gotten a virus on an Android device? No.
    While I respect the fact that the iPad led the way to this new market, it is very much lacking in core functions.
    I enjoy Android tablets much more then the iPad due to the openess of Android. You get the feeling that this is YOUR tablet and you can use it how you want not how apple wants you to use it.

    • James Bruce
      October 17, 2011 at 7:22 am

      260,000 infected devices... in March. I dont have the latest data. i dont think that's "overplaying" it though.

      I don't think iPad led the way though to be honest. Tablets have been around for years. I had to cut a paragraph from the final draft of this article, but in it I spoke about a tablet windows machine I had 8 years ago called the Acer C100 or something. The screen rotated to give you either a fantastic lightweight netbook (before netbooks were invented), or a tablet with (pen)touch only input. The OS was a major drawback - windows just isnt an appropriate way to run a tablet. I think that epitomised all that is wrong in the non-iPad tablet markets - it's not about the hardware, the USB ports, the connectivity, the 'openness' - that Windows tablet had all that and more. Instead it's about the user interface more than anything else. If Android can nail that, and exert some more control over the appstore, I believe it would do a lot better. 

      Anyway, glad to hear you enjoy your Android tablet. Want to mention the hardware in case other readers are interested?

  7. John
    October 16, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Wow... Fanboy article much? Seriously, this sounded more like a marketing campaign filled with wishful thinking - looking at only the positives. I'm not attacking Apple or the iPad here but there are negatives to owning the device.

    I know two people who were pushed (persuaded) into buying Apple iPads and are completely frustrated with it. Neither liked the requirement of a credit card to begin using the device and are both completely confused on how to manage their own media (iTunes). The fact that they needed a desktop/laptop and can't copy stuff from their iDevices back to their computers (or usb sticks) has made them even more frustrated. Yes, they feel like they've been conned much like this article is trying to do.

    As the 'go to' guy for tech help, I'm not helping... They have noted how easily I can drag files on my Nexus One, that I don't need a credit card to start using my device, are being made aware of the options coming from the Android camp (Transformer, Samsung, etc..) and the OS itself as being much more flexible.

    What's happened with the iPad is that they were first out of the gate with an easy to use tablet (not including the MS solutions from many years prior = expensive and klunky). Frankly, I don't care what the iPad numbers are today. I know I'll be picking up a Transformer 2 late this year as Android (ISC) is really beginning to look like a viable Laptop Replacement for most tasks. And the two newbies I mentioned before...? They are already thinking of selling their iPads to move into Android Tablets when the market begins to see shifting prices in 2012.

    • James Bruce
      October 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

      It wasn't really an iPad review or a comparison with other Android devices, so I'm not sure how you took it to be a marketing campaign. The figures are all statistical facts, and I was looking at WHY the iPad owns the market. Take up in schools and businesses is a *massive* influence in terms of sales both present and crucially, in the future too. Weening kids onto a device (sounds like a drug now, I'll admit), means they'll be taking that ethos home with them and creating an entire generation of apple users. Whether or not the iPad is a superior device is actually kind of irrelevant, because in terms of hardware it certainly isn't, obviously. The point is, it's going to outsell Android for now and forever. 

      Anyway, to address your point of the two upset iPad owners... Sorry to hear they got pushed into it. I do think that if they had zero experience with iTunes, a Mac, or iPhone of any kind, they would probably be more than a little unnerved by the computing shift. If you buy into an iPad thinking you will be managing folders on the device then it's going to be a disappointment. Just so you know, you no longer need a desktop/laptop with iOS5, and that was a long needed feature, you're right. 

      As for not being able to copy media back to a computer or USB stick, I've never encountered that issue. It is possible actually with simple third party software, but I've never had the desire to do so. I can't think of a use case in which this would be required, but that's because we do our computing in a different way I guess. Obviously, the iPad was a bad match for them. 

      Here's hoping the transformer 2 you speak of will be a game changer. I dont think it will, nor do I think ISC will change anything, but we'll see. I'll write-up a follow-up at the end of 2012, and I'd love if you're still a reader then ;)

      • John
        October 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

        I'm not sure how old you are but I was around when Apple was doing the same things (schools, business = massive influence) in the 70s and 80s. They sued (instead of compete), they didn't license their OS, they talked about how magical their OS was and they charged double what everyone else did. They got slapped down to less then 10% of the market and to near extinction.

        With all due respect, you are repeating the same things that were written about Apple 2 decades ago. Nothing new here. That's what I call wishful thinking. Too many Apple users are happy telling everyone how great Apple is without looking at the issues with the way the company does business and they keep repeating the same mistakes.

        I'm not knocking you or Apple. I'm actually trying to give you advice. Be honest about the faults in both the product and how the company does business so they can be addressed. Apple users tend not to do this. You want standard ports like USB, a 16:9 device, the ability to *copy* files from an iDevice to any computer or any other demands  - be honest about it and maybe Apple's share won't shrink away as I'm convinced it will in the next few years by Android and Windows 8.Microsoft owned the OS market because they license their OS out, powerful low-cost computing devices took care of the rest. It's happening with Android now (history repeating itself). It will happen when MS 8 tablets begin to it the market. They will be competing with two of the largest Tech companies in the world each with an army of manufacturers (from Dell to ASUS to Samsung and everything in between). They will be competing with an army of cell phone manufacturers. They will be competing against ARM and NVIDIA because they can't see the forest from the trees.You can focus on Samsung or ASUS if you want and try and make them look bad but you're missing the larger picture (you know this but can't get yourself to admit it).I use Android, Windows and Linux. I rant about each hoping for changes that improve their respective ecosystems. When the biases from Apple articles are removed, perhaps people will begin the respect what's being written.

        • James Bruce
          October 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm

          Hmm, we can agree to disagree John. I don't actually want the ability to copy viruses /files onto my iPad, nor do I want USB ports on it. The 16:9 aspect I hadn't considered, but that is a fair point. I mostly watch TV shows on my iPad though, so I hadn't noticed. In fact, thinking about it, 16:9 would mess up my tv shows aspect, so... 

          I was born in 1982 and no idea apple existed until about 10 years ago! So, I guess I can't comment on what they did in the 70s / 80s. It does sound remarkably similar to todays tactics though, I admit. 

          As for history repeating itself and predicting the future of Windows 8, apologies in advance before you read my next opinion piece ;) In the end though, neither you nor I have actually travelled back from the future, so we'll have to wait and see how it does actually pan out. Feel free to come back and throw eggs at me if I'm wrong though, I'll happily admit defeat then! Seriously though, don't read my article on "tech predictions for the next few years" or you'll be fuming. You have been warned!

        • John
          October 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

          Last post regarding this. This isn't a competition about who's right or wrong. It isn't about predictions (unlike your article). All I've said was that your piece was extremely bias and prejudiced - like many fanboy pieces relating to anything Apple. You fail to look at the big picture and your responses are becoming somewhat trollish. I point out some examples of useful additions to Tablets and the typical fanboy response is "I don't need it, nobody needs it" which is exactly how you've responded.

          As a consumer, I prefer competition. I want the best price, the best OS, issues of privacy dealt with openly, and tons of other things that we all need to keep watch on and rail against from time to time. Fanboys don't get it and can be quite thick about the technological world around them. Big Business is NOT your friend.

          Love MUO! Do not like this article. Will continue to read your submissions in the hopes that you'll present something a little less cartoony and worthy of MUO. Please... don't drag this site down with childish fanboism.

          As for MS... my wish is that they get their collective butts kicked but based on what I've seen from Win8, it looks decent enough (though I question what's happening 'under the hood'). You'll have enough manufacturers making enough money to keep it viable for a while as well as Microsoft's effort itself - that is all I'm saying. No single entity has to own the market but a collective group effort (all competing with themselves) can be quite dramatic in any industry. Android (which you've refused to acknowledge) and Windows PCs (which you haven't addressed) are real world examples.


  8. Peter
    October 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Although I am a huge Android fan, I found the article really great.
    It really does point the key advantages of iPad experience, at least 
    in the sense of majority of consumers. 

    • James Bruce
      October 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

      Thanks Peter, that means a lot coming from an Android fan. 

  9. Simwise
    October 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    "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
    of the great Apple marketing machine. If you are happy with your
    device, whatever it is, then that’s great."

    Nice way to attack those you disagree with, sheeple.

    • shawnlanglois
      October 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      What attack? He just said that there was room to disagree and enjoy the product you enjoy? There is no attack in that statement.

      • Vitalik
        November 22, 2011 at 9:25 pm

        too much condescension for a "friendly" opinion.

        • muotechguy
          November 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm

          I suppose calling people who do buy an iPad a sheep isn't condescending? 

          I made a factual statement (ipad is dominating), said it was ok to prefer a device that isnt as popular, and requested that we stop the insults just for liking Apple. That's not at all condescending, actually.