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Why the Tablet Market is Really the iPad Market 657

Hugh Pickens writes writes "James Kendrick writes that after Apple introduced the iPad, companies shifted gears to go after this undiscovered new tablet market but in spite of the number of players in tablets, no company has discovered the magic bullet to knock the iPad off the top of the tablet heap. 'What's happening to the 7-inch tablet market is what happened to the PC market several times. Big name desktop PC OEMs, realizing that consumers didn't care about megahertz and megabytes — yes, that long ago — turned to a price war in order to keep sales buoyant,' writes Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. 'Price becomes the differentiating factor, and this in turns competition into a race to the bottom.' Historically, when a race to the bottom is dictated by the market, it's more a sign of a lack of a market in general. If enough buyers aren't willing to pay enough for a product to make producers a profit, the market is just not sufficient. Price is a metric that most people know and understand because it's nowhere as ethereal or complicated as CPU power or screen resolution. Given a $199 tablet next to another for $299, the $100 difference in the price tag will catch the eye before anything else. But if price is such an important metric, why is the iPad — with its premium price tag — so popular? Simple, it was the first tablet to go mass market, and cumulative sales of around 85 million gives the iPad credibility in the eye on potential buyers. 'So the problem with the Kindle Fire — and the Nexus 7 — is the same problem that's plagued the PC industry. Deep and extreme price cuts give the makers no wriggle room to innovate,' writes Kingsley-Hughes. 'By driving prices down to this level so rapidly, both Amazon and Google have irrevocably harmed the tablet market by creating unrealistic price expectations.'"
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Why the Tablet Market is Really the iPad Market

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  • by redemtionboy ( 890616 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:04PM (#40862483)

    Exactly. The biggest reason that the Nexus 7 is able to undercut the iPad in price is because it's a smaller screen and because Google isn't making a profit on hardware, not because of significantly less features. It's still as every bit capable and more internally, but the smaller screen on a device being sold at near cost is what makes it $200.

  • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:06PM (#40862517)

    [C]umulative sales of around 85 million gives the iPad credibility in the eye on potential buyers. 'So the problem with the Kindle Fire — and the Nexus 7 — is the same problem that's plagued the PC industry . . .

    Hmm. “50% of people with a tablet have an iPad. That doesn't sound so bad until you consider that previously that number had been more like 72%. The slack was taken up by Amazon's Kindle Fire, which has jumped from zero to a 22% share of the market since it launced in fall 2011 . . . "We expect to see the iPad as the leader, but with the Surface, Kindle Fire, and Nexus as three solid competitors with significant market share..."” iPad losing tablet market share [] (July 31, 2012).

  • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:07PM (#40862527)

    The ipad can't even search within a webpage. I presume Nexus 7 and others can?

    Say what? Even my first-gen still-on-iOS 4.3 iPad can search within a webpage, in Safari. Since 2010, apparently [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:10PM (#40862551)

    Of course the iPad can search on a web page. As soon as you tap the search field, a Find on Page option becomes available (for some reason it's right above the virtual keyboard and not attached to the results or search field, but it's there).

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:10PM (#40862553)

    The ipad can't even search within a webpage.

    Wrong. It can, but the way Apple implemented it is obnoxious.

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:25PM (#40862653)

    No tablet comes close to the experience of the iPad; no phone comes close to the effectiveness of the iPhone line. No question-- I'm no fanboy

    The former statement appears to contradict the latter. I'm sorry you think your shiny iThing is the be all and end all, but the reality is that Android phones come out of the box with a different (see that word? you may want to learn that word if you want to get rid of your fanboy label) feature set than Apple's offerings. Some of us *gasp* actually weighed up the feature set of both platforms not ever having owned a smartphone and have chosen willingly to go with Android.

    It's only taken the iPhone 2 years to catch up partially with the features which sold me on the far better Android platform (yes I'm am now an Android fanboy) with things like a useful notification bar, multitasking, or home screen widgets, and even now what I don't miss is paying 99c for every bloody app no matter how basic.

  • by Paul Slocum ( 598127 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:27PM (#40862677) Homepage Journal
    I'm an iOS music app developer, and for music apps and action games, despite the similar hardware Android just doesn't cut it yet performance-wise. Check out the touch-to-sound latency times below that another music app developer posted last week. For many apps it doesn't matter, but for audio and many types of games, 200ms latency is too much! I haven't tested Android myself, but on iOS I get about 40ms.

    WaveSynth for Android 1.0.1
    HTC (4.0.3) -> 186ms
    Google Nexus 7 (4.1.1 Jellybean) -> 213ms
    Galaxy S2 (4.0.3) -> 256ms

    WaveSynth 2.1
    iPhone 4 (5.1.1) -> 49ms

    link []
  • by pointybits ( 818856 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:27PM (#40862679)

    Thats not the point of the article. Its because Google and Amazon are subsidizing the cost of their tablets so much that the consumers are expecting other manufactures to do so.

    Google aren't subsidizing anything at these prices. According to Forbes, "The $199 Nexus 7 8 GB variant costs exactly $151.75 to build while the $249 Nexus 7 16 GB variant costs $159.25. This implies gross margins of nearly 25% to 35% for the device, which are closer to what Apple makes on each iPad." Apple's gross margin on the "new iPad" is around 20%.

  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Thursday August 02, 2012 @08:23PM (#40863163)

    Go look at iFixit's teardown. The nexus has about 1/3 of the battery and runs about as long as an iPad3. The display on the iPad drove up the cost and sucks battery because they pushed it out before the tech was really ready.

    And I'd bet profit is being banked on the Nexus at launch. Tablets are insanely overpriced. You can go to Walmart today and pick up a netbook for about $220 with a 10.1 inch display, hard drive, Windows 7 license, all the extra fans and crap to run Intel Inside and a more complicated laptop housing. We were told an SoC built around ARM was simplier, cheaper and needed less power. So why do they cost so much more?

  • by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestes@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday August 02, 2012 @08:33PM (#40863255) Homepage Journal

    Depending on price, I'd grab an x86 Surface in a second. The ARM version... I'm not sure yet. I really dislike Win8 on desktops, but I think it might be far superior to iOS and Android on tablets. I think (subjective) aesthetics are much nicer than Android or iOS, I like the fact that it (in theory) can interoperate with my desktop, and share apps. I like the fact that it is a full OS, and not a toy OS like Android or iOS.

    Obviously this all depends on factors, how is the ecosystem, how is the support, how much does it cost, how Microsofty is Microsoft going to be with it. How popular also plays a role, since it ensures further development, and more apps.

    Right now I'm happy with my Transformer, and wouldn't trade it for an iPad, or pretty much anything else. I like the Nexus 7, it looks solid, but its too damn small for my needs. Perhaps I might get one for my girlfriend, though she loves her netbook (easier to do homework on), so probably not. If they made a "full size" one for a bit more, I'd probably grab it when I feel the limitations on my current tablet (hasn't happened yet).

    I'm not an MS fan boy, but I'm not frightened to admit that they do somethings right. I can see myself sticking Win8 on my HTPC (not my desktop, ever), and I can see their tablet being brilliant. Hell, I'm one of the few people who really wanted a Zune to replace my aging iPod Classic, but the fact that I had to use WMP, and the that I could find an iPod with much larger capacity cheaper stopped me. Hell, I even liked the brown one, I'm sick of glossy white and silver, or glossy black and silver gadgets, with rounded corners, obviously. That was one thing that made my love my Transformer... Its brown, and looks nothing like an iPad/iPhone/iPod/iWhatever. Apple is fashion that really should die, their devices just don't look very good (to me). The only product design of theirs that I like is the MacMini, the rest are kind of blah and dated looking.

    It find it sad that most manufacturers of Android devices have to follow the Apple-look-a-like mold. Do something different, differentiate yourself, make your own goddamn design!

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday August 02, 2012 @10:00PM (#40863877)

    I don't really think the issue with the Android tablets is what they do. It's that (to the average user) they just don't seem as nice. They displays aren't as sharp, for one thing.

    The Nexus 7 is just as nice as the iPod (including screen DPI). Other Android tablets, not so much.

  • by narcc ( 412956 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @10:21PM (#40864025) Journal

    You're confused. iOS hasn't exactly aged well. At present, it's one of the least usable mobile OS's on the market.

    I'll refer you to things like the absurd number of functions crammed in to the home button as an easy example. There are plenty of other iOS UI and usability failures which I'll happily let other users point out.

  • by fferreres ( 525414 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @10:33PM (#40864107)

    The writer of Jasuto Pro also complained about the latency in Android and that there was nothing to be done about it (happened at the OS level).

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @11:34PM (#40864449)

    Transformer Infinity. Absolutely superior to the latest ipad in almost every way for a similar price. The ipad has an extra inch of screen on one side due to having a different aspect ratio, and a little more battery but no more endurance. That's its only advantage

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @12:10AM (#40864587) Journal

    Well, admittedly, no iOS and few Android devices actually have digitizers, which is what you need for this to be workable with capacitive touch. It worked great on Tablet PCs because those almost exclusively used resistive touchscreens, sucky for fingers but great with a stylus. For Android, the only device with a digitizer I can think off the bat is Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet.

    OneNote on Win8 will definitely support pen input, though, so that might be interesting. And IIRC not only Surface has a digitizer, but so do a bunch of third-party tablets as well, like Asus ones.

  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Friday August 03, 2012 @12:22AM (#40864651) Journal

    For Android, the only device with a digitizer I can think off the bat is Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet.

    As well as the Samsung Galaxy Note, Asus Padphone, HTC Flyer and the millions of inexpensive tablets/phones supplied with capacitative foam-tipped styluses.

  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Friday August 03, 2012 @01:27AM (#40864863) Journal

    Apple sold 26 million iPhones and 17 million iPads. They sold 8.6 million iPods. Supposedly, the iPod touch is the most popular, so we'll give it 50%, or 4.3 million for a grand total of 47.3 million iOS devices sold. Samsung sold 50 million smartphones, but only about 2.4 million tablets to bump them up to 52.4 million Android devices.


    There were 194.913 million handsets shipped in the China market during the first half of 2012, according to statistics published by the China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

    Of the shipment volume, 94.855 million or 48.67% were smartphones in 822 models of which 801 models or 97.44% were based on Android. China-based vendors accounted for 75.16% of the half-year shipment volume, and international vendors 24.84% []

  • by TemplePilot ( 2035400 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @03:30AM (#40865397) Journal
    Pay no mind to Apple shills. iPad is just another greedy shit. Consumers want what consumers want. And for the most part we want to pick and choose the things we need for our little fiefdoms at reasonable price points. We do not want this so called vendor lockin crap. Nor do we want to be babied by control freak app stores.
  • Technical note (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @03:49AM (#40865481)
    I don't want a tablet or a phone made of alumin(i)um, thank you. It is too rigid, which is bad for shock resistance. A magnesium alloy chassis with overmoulded nylon, glass filled nylon, or polycarbonate are much more suitable structural materials for small electronic products as they have considerable shock resistance. Did you know that Blackberry design their phone cases to distort safely on impact, thus reducing damage?

    The perception that polymers are somehow inferior dates from the days of polystyrene, which was a very low spec polymer. Now look at advanced racing bicycles, or the control surfaces on F1 cars, or the wings of the Dreamliner. They are made of plastic, rather than aluminum. It certainly isn't to save money. Those carbon fibre/kevlar/polymer resin composites are 100% synthetic plastics.

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