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Tablet Buyers Waiting For New iPads

The tablet market slowed in Q2 with no new iPads to drive sales, says IDC. But overall outlook is positive for many players, including Windows 8.

In addition to revealing a slight lull in the tablet market, IDC's data also shows how various platforms are developing.

Android devices accounted for 28.2 million shipments during the quarter, or 62.6% of the market. Shipments were up almost 164% relative to last year, when the OS held 38% of the market.

As noted, Apple lost substantial market share. Later this year the company is expected to release new iPad models, including a version of the relatively inexpensive iPad Mini that features a Retina display. The company will also debut iOS 7, which includes the most substantial redesign of the UI since the OS was introduced.

Still, the iPad Mini will face increased competition, such as the recently released Google Nexus 7. In Q1, IDC attributed the tablet market's continued growth partly to the popularity of smaller tablets such as the iPad Mini. Among current mini tablets, the $199 Nexus 7 offers the best value, with features that include a Retina-level screen.

Apple products command a great deal of loyalty, but with compelling Android options such as the Nexus 7 coming in at two-thirds the cost, iOS's market share will continue to face challenges.

The news isn't all bleak for Apple, though. It continues to enjoy better profit margins than other tablet makers, and iOS is still a top priority for developers.

Windows tablets accounted for 4% of all shipments. Among desktop users, Windows 8 controls 5.4% of the market, according to the most recent data from Web tracking firm Net Applications.

Ryan Reith, IDC's program manager for mobility tracker programs, noted in the firm's statement that Microsoft-fueled products are starting to make notable progress into the market. Indeed, with Windows 8.1 and a slew of low-cost devices coming in the next several months, Microsoft's share of the tablet market will almost certainly expand. When a product starts from such a modest place, however, growth isn't difficult. Whether Microsoft can gain enough to compete with the leaders is still unknown. Achieving 10% of tablet shipments by the end of the year would represent rapid growth, for instance, but it would still make Windows 8 an also-ran.

IDC found that Windows RT barely registered a blip on the tablet market, meanwhile, with .5% of the all shipments. This isn't surprising, given that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted overestimating demand. The company hopes to boost adoption of both Windows 8 and Windows RT with recent price cuts to its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets.

At the end of July, research firm Strategy Analytics released its own estimates for Q2 tablet shipments. To an extent, the earlier report's findings differ from those released by IDC. Strategy Analytics estimated a marginally higher market share for Android and marginally lower market share for iOS, for example.

Still, both reports suggest the same general trends: a slight lull in the market while consumers wait for new devices, particularly the next iPad; the continued rise of the Android ecosystem; and modest signs of life for Windows 8.

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User Rank: Strategist
8/7/2013 | 6:57:31 PM
re: Tablet Buyers Waiting For New iPads
Tablets are pretty cool, but not refined. This holds very true with the Microsoft products. I think there is confusion in the Market with an RT Windows 8 and Windows 8 for the Surface Pro. Why two?

Another opinion - Tablets are
cool gadgets, but I do not see them being a replacement for the Gǣgood old
laptopGǥ until you can dock them, and be able to use a comfortable keyboard and
mouse for a work or home environment when you are not on the run, or sitting in
an easy chair browsing the internet or reading email.

Without the legacy support of the standard keyboard and mouse, and an interface to easily support them, I see this as just a fad that will disappear with time. The Price also is not attractive enough to pull me away from the more productive Laptop.
A hunch - A big thing a few years ago was Ergonomics, Chair positions, keyboard alignments, special mice. With the Advent of the tablet, I think we will see the law suits come in about finger stress and joint problems.
User Rank: Ninja
8/6/2013 | 2:38:47 PM
re: Tablet Buyers Waiting For New iPads
Both IDC and SA's numbers are not to be believed. Since when has IDC given us any reason to believe them? They are constantly revising those numbers. In addition, both Gartner and IDC has significant business relationships with Microsoft. That's why we always see their predictions for Microsoft's products look better than they turn out to be.

As far as SA's numbers are concerned, they been shown to be incorrect by a number of different parties.

I have a lot of problems with most numbers companies like these throw around. The on,y company we know of that gives actual sell-through numbers is Apple. No other company does that. So sales for them are very questionable. Samsung, for example, hasn't given sales or shipment numbers per quarter since the end of the last quarter of 2011, when they were embarrassed by !enovo's pointing out that they sold just a tiny percentage of the tablets they claimed to ship.

In addition, during the case between all,e and Samsung, here, both companies had to give the numbers of smartphones and tablets sold that were in dispute. It's interesting to note, that while IDC guessed that Samsung shipped 1.5 million tablets into the US during that quarter, they had sold only 48,000 of them, not including a couple of models.

Sales of Samsung smartphone models under dispute were between one third and one half of what had been guessed. While these numbers were mentioned in a couple of articles, the whole thing was buried quickly. I wonder why?

When you couple these numbers with statements over time by top Samsung officials that tablet sales are doing "poorly" or "very poorly", along with usage statistics from several companies who track that, I can only believe that Samsung sales specifically, and Android sales generally, are well below what these companies throw at us.

In addition, while we see "shipped" as a way around real numbers, I never see shipped being used for Apple's products, even though we have a very good idea as to what they are. Apple tells us the sell-through, but they also tell us the amount in the channel. Both numbers together are the equivalent of "shipped", but we never see those numbers being used. Generally, the number is a good 10% additional over the sell-through, often more.

So these numbers, and percentages are fishy at best, and very possibly fraudulent.
Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
8/5/2013 | 6:56:08 PM
re: Tablet Buyers Waiting For New iPads
I agree in principle, though I'm not sure about a 15-inch Surface-- pretty big for a device intended to have a tablet mode. It would also probably cost as much as a MacBook Pro.

But I agree in general. I like the Surface Pro, but the 10-inch screen is too small for it to be anything but a companion device, at least for me. Can I do work on it? Sure. Are there tasks I prefer to do on it? Yes. Would I be in trouble if all my other computers disappeared? Absolutely. The Surface Pro shares/takes over some duties from the other machines, but it doesn't replace any of them. And at $1000 for the tablet and a keyboard, I think buyers expect a genuine laptop replacement-- not 85% of one.

If the screen were maybe 13 inches, that might strike a nice middle ground. I think Microsoft should be selling the current Surface Pro for something like $600 with a keyboard. Maybe they'll prove me wrong with their new discounts-- but that's the price where it starts to seem reasonable to me.

But if Microsoft releases a 13-inch Surface with Haswell, then Microsoft could take a serious run at the $1000+ device crowd.

At some point, I think we might see a split between tablets with 11-14 inches screens and tablets with 7-8 inch screens, though. Unless you want a phablet, 7-8 inches is a nice size for a consumption-oriented device, and 11 inches is about as small as you can go while remaining a true true hybrid device. Like I said, 15 inches might be a little unwieldy in a tablet configuration, but with Haswell, the devices should be lighter, so maybe the OEMs can design something cleverly ergonomic.
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 6:17:05 PM
re: Tablet Buyers Waiting For New iPads
I'm waiting on the Surface Pro 2 that's 15". I love to have it's ease of capabilities in the office but 10" isn't going to cut it as much as the old netbooks did back in the 00's. Once manufacturers get it the public wants a portable computer with a touchscreen interface and experience like a tablet large enough size to actually do more than squint to read emails, they'll be on the winning team. This 10" craze is a fad that has to go away fast. The Acer R7 has it right, I'd get that if they'd drop a Haswell in it already.
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