Gartner says Apple iPad to have free run in tablet market this Christmas amid flummoxed also-rans

Worldwide media tablet sales to end users are on pace to total 63.6 million units, a 261.4 percent increase from 2010 sales of 17.6 million units, according to Gartner, Inc. Media tablet sales will continue to experience strong growth through 2015 when sales are forecast to reach 326.3 million units.

Apple’s iPad is projected to account for 73.4 percent of worldwide media tablet sales in 2011, down from 83 percent share in 2010. Beyond Apple iOS and the Android operating system (OS), Gartner does not expect any other platforms to have more than 5 percent share of the tablet market in 2011.

“We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, in the press release. “This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal. Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen. This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models that offer storage and connectivity options.”

Android tablets are on pace to ship 11 million units in 2011 (see Table 1), accounting for 17.3 percent of media tablet sales. This is up only slightly from Android’s 2010 market share of 14.3 percent. Gartner’s forecast for the Android OS has been lowered by 28 percent from last quarter’s projection. The reduction would have been greater had it not been for the success of lower-end tablets in Asia, and the expectations around the launch of Amazon’s tablet.

“So far, Android’s appeal in the tablet market has been constrained by high prices, weak user interface and limited tablet applications” Ms. Milanesi said. “Google will address the fragmentation of Android across smartphone and tablet form factors within the next Android release, known as ‘Ice Cream Sandwich,’ which we expect to see in the fourth quarter of 2011. Android can count on strong support from key OEMs, has a sizeable developer community, and its smartphones application ecosystem is second only to Apple’s.”

Table 1: Worldwide Sales of Media Tablets to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)
Gartner Worldwide Sales of Media Tablets to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units) 2010-2015

Gartner analysts said Research In Motion’s QNX OS is a promising platform, but it is still in the early stages of development. RIM’s main challenge will be to attract more support from application developers as the company is going through a tough period, with considerable pressure on its smartphone business.

The current buzz around Windows 8 driven by the demonstrations seen at the Build conference might be short-lived if Microsoft’s push to use the new OS across devices comes at a compromise in usability. Moreover, the late arrival might limit its appeal, especially to consumers, as Apple and Android will be more entrenched by then. Microsoft’s platform will find its biggest opportunities in the enterprise segment, where IT departments could benefit from smoother integration with existing Microsoft software.

As more vendors will arrive in 2012, Gartner analysts said it’s important they concentrate on delivering a rich user experience based on a strong tie between smartphones and tablets, a good set of apps, an intuitive user interface, and the ability to share content easily between devices.

“Most of Apple’s competitors are struggling to meet Apple’s prices without considerably sacrificing margins. Screen quality and processing power are the two hardware features that vendors cannot afford to compromise on,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner. “They should consider everything else ‘nice to have,’ rather than essential, in order to keep bills-of-materials costs competitive with those of the iPad.”

Gartner’s Special Report, “iPad and Beyond: The Future of the Tablet Market,” provides insight into what consumers, enterprises and vendors can expect as the market continues to unfold. More than 20 reports examine the tablet marketplace, as well as video commentary. The Special Report is available at

MacDailyNews Take: Predicting Android sales without knowing the results and effects of tens of ongoing patent infringement lawsuits worldwide is a fool’s errand.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sarah” and “David E.” for the heads up.]


    1. They sure are low-balling the iPad. Android 10fold increase from 2012 – 15: IOS only 3fold increase?? And didn’t Gartner predict WP 7 taking 50% of the market by 2015? Also, where do they expect QNX’s sales to come from with warehouses stacked full of Playbooks and manufacturing being cut back?
      Due diligence?….not so much as usual.

      1. FFS and Federico know more than the “analysts” at Gartner! They supposedly manage money as well…but there is no information on that at all. Something is not right about this firm.

    2. I think Gartner is a scam; they don’t over any real insight or knowledge about IT…or frankly, anything else. Earnings are probably BS too.

    3. They may be low balling APPL…or not; the iphone is toy for adults with a decent camera. Reception is abysmal…anything but unlimited plan will be bucks…and more bucks.. I miss my blackberry!

    4. Not a zero sum game; derivatives buried that long ago…couple bucks on the upside, couple on the down and the straddle and strangle sellers clean ….without adding value

  1. 16 million non-iPad tablets are going to be sold this year?

    Count how many “heavyweights” such as RIM have be out there to fill up this number, if RIM sells tablets at outstanding, colossal rate of 200 thousand units per quarter. Motorola is even almost beyond accountable — like half million units per quarter. Samsung has cosmic numbers, selling a million of SGTs in two months.

    Gartner is almost as delusional as IDC.

  2. This is the same units shipped bullshit and not sales. Will Gartner and IDC ever tire of this. Does anyone actually have any idea of how to track units sold, units discounted, losses for units discounted, units given away, twofers, etc. Apple is the current market. I suggest Gartner and IDC track only projected profit (surely they can figure this out) and forget bullshit market share and units shipped.

    1. IDC and Gartner do not truck tablet sales; they do not have any magical “Big Brother” eye watching how many tablets all of manufacturers produces, shipped and sold.

      So they came up with this idea that Apple has to have like, say, 65-75% market share, no matter how much the company sells.

      So when Apple sold 4.3 million iPads in Q1 of this year, they calculated that there “should be” over 2 million of non-iPad tablets sold.

      And when Apple sold 9.3 million iPads in Q2, they did the same trick and the “research” returned that 4.3 million of non-iPad tablets “must be” sold — though there is absolutely no reason why would sales of non-iPad tablets grow that much.

      Sales of non-iPad tablets are not function of iPad sales, and Q2 results of Motorola, RIM, others proved that. However, both IDC and Gartner continue to apply this delusional 65-75% iPad share formula, ignoring basic reality.

      1. Gartner’s people are definitely using some sort of BS algorithm as if consumers fit into some neat little logical package. Those analysts should just say, “We have no idea at all about Android tablet growth because there are no solid trends.” Using some nonsense that for every ten tablets Apple sells, Android vendors will sell 3 or 4 is honestly rubbish. I want to know why they think that consumers are patiently waiting for Android tablets because it has a different OS or something. Most don’t care at all. Consumers just want products that work well for them and to be somewhat reasonable in cost.

        The way consumers, schools and businesses are adapting iPads, there’s almost no way that Android tablets are going to be sold in quantity, at least in the U.S. And you know those Android tablets are going to be cheap in cost and cheap in quality, so whatever they sell isn’t going to affect Apple’s bottom line. It appears for all intents and purposes that Apple has created another iPod franchise that’s as strong, if not stronger than the original. It would appear to be even stickier due to the costlier initial investment added to the huge ecosystem and customer support from retail stores.

  3. gartner’s BS as usual. they have really no idea what they are talking about. or they are doing it by purpose. besides the unproven garbage of “success of lower-end tablets in Asia” (there are absolutely no information or official numbers available too back that claim), they still account the webos/hp touchpad with 2 million sales in 2011 and the rim playbook (qnx) with 3 million. you gotta be kidding. they have just revised their idiotic predictions from a few months ago (android will kill the ipad!), oops didn’t happened, let’s just usher another idiotic prediction. how idc, gartner and the rest of these “market research” companies have any reputation left is beyond me.

    it always fascinates me how these people got their jobs / can keep their jobs and how the tech press rehashes that nonsense with no questions asked. by the way, the touchpad is eol and hasn’t sold well even at the $99 everything-must-go-price and the playbook has shipped 700.000 so far. shipped, not sold. only 2.3 million to go in 2011!

  4. Do we really believe these numbers? 2011 maybe. 2012 why should we. The 2011 are similar to the 83% in the other real world report.

    “Apple iOS accounts for 83% of mobile devices using Wi-Fi in airports worldwide”

    Apple iOS accounts for 83% of mobile devices using Wi-Fi in airports worldwide

    But why should this change next year having Android percent moving up vs. down. Do they take into account the iPads now being built in Brazil. Apple always states, “If we could have built more we would have sold more.” How many other countries will Apple build their products and devices in? At what point will Apple be able to build fast enough with accelerating halo growth everywhere?

  5. Why do these analysts continue to give so much credence to Android tablets. Do they think that these Android vendors are just going to stumble across some magic bullet or something? Apple is continually building stronger component and manufacturing relationships. Android vendors are barely doing anything. Those key OEMs the analyst speaks about aren’t necessarily going to keep pouring money into something that they’re going to see little returns from. Besides, there doesn’t seem to be any demand for Android tablets by consumers, at all. I don’t think consumers really just want a cheap, low-quality tablet running some OS that’s open to all sorts of malware.

    He’s entitled to his opinion, but Android tablets seem to be losing traction, not gaining traction. Apple seems to have all the strength on every level one can think of. A company that is soon to have $90 billion in cash in a weak economy would seem to be able to do absolutely everything to hold a tight grip on the tablet market.

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