Despite the glut of competitors over the next 12 months, Caris & Co. research said the Apple iPad will still have a commanding market share in the tablet space in 2011.
The report said that the Apple iPad will account for 67% of the market next year as Steve Jobs’ company still has a head start over the competition. The company essentially kick-started the tablet market in the mainstream, even though Microsoft had been pushing for this form factor for over a decade.
The report said the Apple iPad could move as many as 36 million iPad units next year, a sizable portion of the 54 million tablet sales it expects in 2011. While these are minuscule numbers compared to PC shipments and smartphone sales, becoming the leader in an emerging market could pay large dividends as more and more users pick up tablets.
Part of the reason Caris is expecting the iPad to maintain its dominance is that we’re expecting the sequel to be announced in just a few short weeks, if Apple keeps up with its schedule. The original iOS tablet was announced in late January and hit in Spring, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the iPad 2 around the same time.
We’re expecting the next-gen iOS tablet to have a front-facing camera for FaceTime video calling. We’re also expecting it to be thinner and lighter than the original and it may even have an extra expansion port (USB or a card reader).
It won’t be an easy road though, as the competition is gearing up. We expect to see the Motorola Xoom Android Honeycomb tablet at next week’s CES show and it could be a credible contender. LG, Research In Motion, Palm and HTC are also working on gadgets to compete in this space and all have a chance to improve upon the iPad.