updated 03:32 pm EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
iPad still controls biggest individual share
Non-Apple tablets have collectively surpassed the iPad for the first time in terms of worldwide marketshare, claims research firm Canalys. During the June quarter, Apple achieved a share of 42.7 percent, giving it dominance in terms of individual tablet makers. Together, however, Amazon, Acer, Samsung, Lenovo, and other tablet makers scored a 57.3 percent slice. In Q2 2012, Apple held 71.2 percent of the market versus the remainder's 28.9 percent.
Canalys attributes the decline in Apple's fortunes to aging hardware, and suggests that the era of intense buzz for new iPads is over. "When Apple does decide to refresh its iPad range it will not experience the buzz of previous launches," says one of the firm's analysts, James Wang. "Tablets are now mainstream products and hardware innovation is increasingly difficult. With branded Android tablets available for less than $150, the PC market has never been so good for consumers, who are voting with their wallets."
Another issue for Apple, and the tablet industry, is said to be a shift towards smaller sized-models like the 7.9-inch iPad mini and the Google/Asus Nexus 7. "The move to smaller tablets has sparked a price war that has real consequences for the entire supply chain," Canalys writes. "These products generate little absolute margin for channel partners, vendors or component manufacturers. Content, applications and accessories (especially cases and keyboards) are now even more important to boost margins -- areas where Apple remains a leader."
An earlier study by another tracking firm, IDC, suggested that Apple actually lost control of the tablet industry in Q4 2012. The metrics of tablet sales can be difficult to track however, particularly since no-name Android tablets are widespread in countries like China.