Strong sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire may have got Apple’s attention in the fourth quarter of last year, but new research indicates the iPad will retain its dominant market share in 2012.
The $199 Kindle Fire attracted millions of buyers over the holiday shopping season after its release last November, dropping the iPad’s share of the tablet market to 55.1%, according to the IHS iSuppli Worldwide Tablet Market report. But IHS says the iPad is set to recover and maintain a comfortable 61% share of the tablet market for all of 2012.
At its height last year, Kindle Fire had 41.1% of the market, but now IHS predicts the tablet will drop to 38.4% in 2012, despite reports the online retail giant will ntroduce new models later this year.
In IHS’ view, those new models won’t be enough to counter the popularity of the iPad including both the new model and the discounted ($399) iPad 2. IHS also confirmed numerous reports via its supply chain contacts that Apple will introduce a smaller version of the iPad later this year. Specifically, IHS expects the smaller iPad will sport a 7.8-inch display, though it’s unlikely to match the Kindle Fire’s $199 price.
“Apple will place continuing emphasis on the quality of the overall tablet experience and the benefits of selecting the company’s products,” IHS said in a release.
While not a threat to the iPad this year, IHS predicts new ultrabook offerings and the release of Windows 8 later this year will help drive stronger sales in 2013 and beyond of PC-type tablets.
“The key to Apple’s media-tablet success has been its offering of a complete hardware-plus-content ecosystem,” said Rhoda Alexander, director for monitors and tablets research at IHS. “The combination of a good-looking device, well-designed applications, video, books and music has provided consumers with an easy-to-use product and an appealing use case. Such an ecosystem took Apple years to put together, starting with the iPod plus iTunes Music Store more than nine years ago, and it’s proving to be a challenge for the company’s competitors to replicate it.”