Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
8/6/2013
11:37 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Apple's Tablet Market Share Truth

Apple's share of the tablet market dipped to its lowest point yet during the second quarter. Let's put that in context.

8 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Your iPad And The Cloud
(click image for larger view)
8 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Your iPad And The Cloud
New data from IDC shows that Apple's share of the tablet market is sinking quickly. So what? Apple launched the modern tablet market in 2010 with the original iPad. That year it had more than 90% of the tablet market. Apple never had anywhere to go but down.

During the second quarter of 2013, Apple shipped 14.6 million iPads. That's down from 19.2 million during the first quarter of the year. With the drop in shipments, Apple saw its share of the tablet market dip to 32.4%. A year ago, when there were fewer legitimate competitors, Apple's iPad owned 60% of the market. It's lost almost half its share of the market.

In years past, Apple introduced a new full-size iPad during the second quarter. This year, it didn't. Plenty of people are waiting to see what Apple does next with its full-size tablet, so they're holding off on the annual upgrade. That's not a difficult concept to understand.

Even at only 14.6 million units, Apple managed to beat its closest competitor, Samsung, by a wide margin. Samsung shipped 8.1 million tablets during the second quarter. The next-closest competitor, Asus, shipped just 2 million tablets, or about one-seventh as many as Apple. That means Apple is still the top tablet maker in volume. The same is true for profits. Apple's margins are better than those of Samsung and Asus.

[ Looking to accessorize your iPad? Check out 10 Best iPad Cases Cover Work, Play. ]

The quarterly sales numbers will always fluctuate based on annual upgrade cycles, as well as traditional shopping seasons. Apple might have written off its second (and maybe even third) quarter stats by changing its iPad upgrade cycle, but Apple is primed to have a huge year-end between September and December.

Apple is expected to debut a brand-new full-size iPad and a refreshed iPad Mini. The full-size iPad will feature a new design, mirroring that of the iPad Mini, which has a slimmer frame. The iPad Mini might have a Retina screen. The new tablets should arrive in late September or early October. They will surely be huge successes.

One thing that's important to remember, however, is that Apple doesn't target market share. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said repeatedly that Apple doesn't care about making the smartphone or tablet that sells the most units. Apple cares about making the best device it can make. Apple cares about providing its customers with the best experience it can. Apple cares about quality over quantity (well, to a certain degree, since Apple is a public company and has to keep shareholders' interests in mind.)

Given the growing presence of low-cost Android tablets in the market, such as Google's Nexus 7, Apple will likely continue to lose share in the tablet market until the still-growing market stabilizes in a year or two. As the tablet market matures, it will be more important to see if Apple can continue to lead by bringing new features and experiences rather than what its share of the market is.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/8/2013 | 2:10:40 AM
re: Apple's Tablet Market Share Truth
A problem that Apple and other tablet makers face is consumer focus on form factor. It's hard to make each successive generation half as heavy, twice as thin and at least as strong. CPU improvement isn't as easy to see as it was in PCs. When users don't see a compelling difference between generations, upgrading will be less common.
Michael Endler
50%
50%
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
8/7/2013 | 10:16:47 PM
re: Apple's Tablet Market Share Truth
Agreed. The fact that Apple commands so much developer attention relative to its market share is very telling. Those cheap Android phones aren't doing their manufacturers much good, since Apple and Samsung are literally the only ones making any money. Still, if Apple's market share drops low enough, developer loyalty will be harder to maintain.
D. Henschen
50%
50%
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
8/7/2013 | 6:58:23 PM
re: Apple's Tablet Market Share Truth
Hate to sound like a Ludite, but I'm perfectly happy to share a second-gen iPad with my wife and son. No Retina screen. Don't even have mobile service--just WiFI. For the sake of our landfills, I hope the consumerist craze to always upgrade to the latest and greatest abates. Companies have the right approach in running devices multiple years before automatically upgrading.
Aden11
50%
50%
Aden11,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/7/2013 | 3:22:28 PM
re: Apple's Tablet Market Share Truth
I have no clue whats going on in their heads but lets be honest and frank they screwed up their new product release cycle. Not only for iPads but for everything. I've been waiting for new iPad since March and there is no sign of it. Last time I checked they release the new iPad back in March 2012 (iPAD 4 doesn't count, it was the continuation of iPad 3 )and i.e. 18 months ago. 18 months in tech business is eternity. I am happy they are losing their market share, perhaps this is the only way they will realize to change their strategy.
Shane M. O'Neill
50%
50%
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
8/7/2013 | 3:16:21 PM
re: Apple's Tablet Market Share Truth
Apple has never cared much for market share. With such sweet profit margins, they don't need to. But lower-cost Android tablets are a growing threat, as the IDC numbers clearly show. Losing half your market share in one year is nothing to sneeze at. But the iPad will follow the same pattern as the iPhone: lose market share to the army of Android devices but still win the profit game.
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps – and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.