The one huge thing everybody gets wrong about tablets

“The news Monday that tablet sales dropped off for the first time last quarter are bound to accelerate the ‘tablets are dead’ punditry we’ve seen around the web over the past few months,” Ben Bajarin writes for TIME Magazine. “But the vast majority of commentators writing about tablets get one big thing wrong: The tablet market isn’t one big market, it’s many small ones.”

“When many people think ‘tablet market,’ for instance, they think ‘iPad.’ But Apple’s iPad is only one kind of tablet. And still its performance gets lumped in with cheap kids’ tablets. The two are entirely different in their usage, yet spoken about without appreciation for each device’s key functionality,” Bajarin writes. “When I see a forecast saying the tablet segment will be up or down in 2015, I like to ask, “which segment?” Will gaming tablets be up or down? Computing tablets like the iPad? Tablets that get stuck on walls at retail? Which ones are growing and which are not? No good answer exists to these questions, because the people projecting these numbers aren’t looking at the market this way. That makes their predictions less valuable.”

Much more in the full article here.


  1. But, “lumping all the different categories of tablets together” serves the statistical manipulators such as IDC & Strategy Analytics well as they generate favourable charts for their customers, when they want to show iPad share as slipping off a cliff!

  2. Another thing is that iPads are built to last. Both on the hardware and software side of things… Much like a full blown laptop is.

    Can’t really say that about the competition, since most of them rely on off the shelf components, and somebody else to create the software. Kinda hard to lay out a reliable road map when you aren’t the one responsible for following it through.

    It’s also apparent that iPads (and their knock off companions) aren’t treated as “semi-disposable” like many phones are (iPhones included). They don’t get out as much, and when they’re dropped there’s usually some sort of pillow or carpet involved. Again, much like a laptop.

  3. The concept is good, but he fails on his categories. You have the PC tablets that Microsoft has been pushing for a decade. they’re basically laptops with touch screens. Designed for the high-end laptop market. You have mobile tablets like the iPad. They’re lightweight, easy to handle, and have the option of cellular service. Great for the workforce where laptops are impractical. Then you have devices that use tablet technology but they’re really only good for about one or two purposes; like e-readers or toys. Then you have junk that make people who buy them that make the people who buy them think that tablets think that tablets are useless. However IDC loves these because it keeps the iPad’s market share low.

  4. The one huge thing everybody gets wrong about tablets is that people don’t buy them like they buy smartphones. You don’t get a new tablet every other year. You buy one when your current one isn’t doing the job yet. You should expect a refresh cycle similar to Macs.


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