Why Apple may have already won the ‘tablet wars’

“Apple may have already won the tablet wars,” Lance Ulanoff reports for PC Magazine. “Yesterday, before Apple announced it had sold another 9.4 million iPads, to bring the total up to somewhere near 37 million , I saw an eye-opening chart from research firm the Yankee Group [see below] that put the growing tablet market in the starkest terms imaginable.”

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“Though it says ‘Thousands’ of units, it really represents millions. As the bars show, the market is growing fast and sales of tablets appear to double in 2012,” Ulanoff reports. “Keep in mind that this is all tablets, not just iPads. There’s another healthy growth year in 2013, but by 2015, the growth has all but flattened out.”

Yankee Group U.S. Tablet Forecast 2011-2015

“Carl Howe, Director for Anywhere Consumer Research at the Yankee Group, explained to me that the tablet market is set to mature at an unprecedented rate. By maturity, we mean market saturation. Everyone who might buy a tablet, in the U.S. at least, has one by 2015, and then it’s an upgrade and replacement market,” Ulanoff reports. “If Apple sold 15 million iPads in 2010 and total tablet sales were estimated by IDC as 18 million, how much of an impact are any of these tablets actually making?”

Ulanoff reports, “Apple’s commanding lead in the tablet space is turning into something else: an almost insurmountable mountain that no other can climb.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not much of a war. More like an overwhelming invasion by a vastly superior force.

Scratch tablets. Let’s call it what it really is: The iPad market.

Plus, the more Apple products in people’s hands, the more they inclined to buy Apple products going forward. That’s even more good news for Mac, iPhone, iPod, and whatever Apple dreams up next.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “B.T. Laurich” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Apple iPad adoption rate fastest ever, passing DVD player – October 4, 2010

42 Comments

  1. “Plus, the more Apple products in people’s hands, the more they inclined to buy Apple products going forward. That’s even more good news for Mac, iPhone, iPod, and whatever Apple dreams up next.”

    Every Apple product has an incredible halo effect. I started with the iPhone 3G three years ago, then an iMac, then an iPad, and lastly an Apple TV. Now on an iPhone 4. All are the best consumer electrinics devices I have ever owned.


    1. @SierraHotel
      Thursday, July 21, 2011 – 9:40 am ·

      “Plus, the more Apple products in people’s hands, the more they inclined to buy Apple products going forward. That’s even more good news for Mac, iPhone, iPod, and whatever Apple dreams up next.”

      Every Apple product has an incredible halo effect. I started with the iPhone 3G three years ago, then an iMac, then an iPad, and lastly an Apple TV. Now on an iPhone 4. All are the best consumer electrinics devices I have ever owned.”

      AMEN. SAME HERE!

  2. Actually, it should say that Apple has already won the iPad wars.

    All of the other “tablets” are imitation iPads. Therefore, it is an iPad war, not a tablet war. Since Apple is the sole manufacturer of iPads, it is the only company that can possibly sell the most iPads. If the other manufacturers would come up with something that isn’t a pseudo-iPad, we’d have a product category. We could call it, say, “tablet computers,” and instead of being the only product in the category, iPad would be one among many. Then it wouldn’t be a competition to see which company that isn’t Apple can make and sell the most Apple products.

    Of course this requires someone not in Cupertino to get an original idea.

  3. I’m waiting for an article that reveals that, some time ago, Apple applied for and was granted a patent for original thinking. Entitled “Methods of Contemplation, Speculation, Imagination, and Implementation of New Ideas,” the patent names Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Jonathan Ives as co-inventors. It includes a diagram of a stick figure standing outside a line drawing of a cardboard box, with its flaps open, to illustrate out-of-the-box thinking. There would be another figure similar to Leonardo DaVinci’s painting of God’s finger touching Adam’s figure, illustrating creativity. The patent’s scope would include methods of prototyping and testing, an acceptance-or-rejection process, methods of implementation in a commercial product, and would extend through manufacturing, distribution, advertising, and sales.

    This would explain why no one else is having an original idea.

  4. Hey kids, what about Windows 8 tablets? Surely the world has been but biding their time waiting for the “real” tablet harboring a “real” operating system that let’s them do anything they want but anything productive? (Oh, those kind are already out? But what about the tiles? No tiles yet ala WimP 7 phones. Surely THIS is what we’ve all been waiting for?!?!? Stinking tiles!!)

    Released sometime in the year 2012? 2013? 2014? 2525?

  5. The researcher wrote “Everyone who might buy a tablet, in the U.S. at least, has one by 2015,… ” Very doubtful, like the guy who said everything that can be invented has been invented. Apple is not evolutionary, but revolutionary.

    1. One, Carl Howe was the Horace Dediu of a few years ago, before he joined the Yankee Group. He was very good at predicting Apple’s earnings, so he’s tuned into Apple, though he doesn’t follow them specifically anymore.

      Two, if you add up their estimates, that would mean 197M tablets sold in the USA in the 5 year period. Of course, some people will have more than one, and some will have upgraded from iPad to iPad 5 by then, but most of those have been handed down, so 2/3rds of Americans will have tablets or thereabouts by 2015. Why wouldn’t it be a fast-maturing market, with replacement being the driver of growth by 2015?

  6. If it were ever a ‘war’, then it’s been a festering wound of a skirmish for fifteen years, until Apple came on with an actual weapon. Previously, ‘tablets’ were barely workable pen-driven etch-a-sketch abominations, more than frequently swivel-back to a keyboard for any real attempt at what the windoze world calls ‘work’.

  7. Why they didn’t carve off six zeros on the axis labels and put Tablet Sales (MIllions) is beyond me.

    But, Lance, when the units on the axis of a graph reads ‘Thousands’ of units, the scale does “really represent” thousands. When the graph is interpreted, 10,000 ‘thousands’ is 10M.

    1. A bar graph shouldn’t be used for cumulative numbers. A line graph is more appropriate. The use of 10,000 thousands for 10 million is just ridiculous.

      The premise that there is a finite number of Americans that want an iPad is ludicrous. Anyone who can read may want one eventually.

      1. Uhm, I don’t think that’s a cumulative number. I think since they were labeling the columns down to the thousands place, that’s what they used for the y-axis label, otherwise, you have columns with 18.170M labels, which don’t look good, either. 18,170 looks better. Then again, the level of precision down to the thousands place is nonsense to begin with. They should have just rounded to the millions.

      2. … ‘the premise that there are a finite number of Americans who want an iPad is ludicrous’ isn’t ludicrous at all as there are a finite number of Americans. Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your point of view, I guess.

  8. This analysis is far too U.S. centric. Hundreds of millions of tablets will be sold worldwide, and China alone is going to be a much larger market than the U.S. That is why it is so important that Apple’s sales in China have begun to take off in a big way.

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