Bigger Than Windows: Apple iPad Has 95% Market Share. Can Anyone Catch Up?

The Apple iPad is the definitive leader in the tablet market, clobbering the competition with 95.5 percent of the 4.4 million tablets sold this past summer, according to a study from Strategy Analytics. Android tablets, by comparison, made up just 2.3 percent of the market. 95.5%: Not even Microsoft Windows in its heyday had that kind of market dominance. Is there any way the competition can ever catch up to Apple's massive lead?

Apple will maintain the lead in the near future, says Neil Mawston, author of the Strategy Analytics study. But there is growth available for companies--Samsung, LG, HP, Dell--all of which are entering the market in the next couple of quarters. "In terms of becoming the number one player in hardware, Apple will hang on to that for at least the next year. They have quite a lead already," Mawston explains. "From a software perspective, Android stands a good chance of catching Apple iOS pretty quickly."

The tablet market could shake out much like the smartphone market. Apple's iPhone garners a large portion of sales, but Android-based phones from a variety of vendors make up the majority of handsets. But Apple is still the profit leader in the smartphone space, thanks to its larger margins on each iPhone sold -- and the same is likely to be true of the iPad.

All hope isn't lost for other companies angling to overtake Apple's hardware dominance. "If a global player with wider distribution networks ramps up volume--Samsung, Nokia is an outside bet, maybe Dell, maybe HP--they might be able to compete fairly well," Mawston says. If someone comes along with an improved user interface (i.e. a touchscreen combined with a hard keyboard) at a lower price than the iPad, they might have a chance. (Then again, a third party iPad keyboard-case like the Toccata could help Apple keep its lead).

Mawston believes that Apple ultimately doesn't care whether or not other vendors catch up. "Their focus is on value share versus volume share," he says. And Apple isn't going to stop cashing in on the iPad anytime soon.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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3 Comments

  • tuneup 2011 download

    Wow, that’s pretty impressive. 95% of people buy the only product that is actually on sale.
    I think that the iPad will still be the leader for the foreseeable future. Well, I do not know what the tablet market share meanings, but I think Apple iPad is deserve it.
    I got one just after the release and love it, also using AirDisplay on it makes me realize how touch-unfriendly Redmond’s OS really is. Same can actually be said for any desktop OS, which is why the iPad works; it is a touch based OS. What’s more, with the touch-friendly, watching movies on iPad in the help of iFunia iPad Converter really convenient and amazing, on the go!!!

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  • yolamorse

    If possible, don’t miss a ipad! ipad is so fantastic!now ,i am a ipad user , i use my ipad playing games, whach movies, sending e-mail ect. i maily use my ipad to enjoy movies, as i am a movie fan, i purchase a ipad chair and Aneesoft ipad video converter , i watch videos everyday and i never go to the cinema , at the same time, ipad as a tool of Mobile Office is also Applied and fashion for many enterprises , in a word, ipad are more and more applied by us in life .