But Apple far from any immediate danger. ABI Research says the iPad’s biggest competition will come from the lower priced tablets that will grab over 60% of the market by 2016. While the market for under-$400 tablets grows, particularly in regions like China and India, ABI expects the market for $400+ tablets to shrink.
By ABI's count there are already over 220 different tablet models, but the iPad is by far the best known and, most analysts agree, has over 60% of the tablet market.
Jeff Orr, group director of consumer research at ABI, says competition will be good for Apple and good for a healthy ecosystem.
“It doesn’t mean Apple’s out if it doesn’t drop prices over time, we just don’t expect Apple to be the dominant supplier at more than 50% anymore. A lot of consumers struggle with the price of an iPad and will be more likely to buy something that’s almost as good. That’s why Android tablets collectively are gaining force to where they’re at about 25% market share in a year’s time,” Orr said in an interview with TabTimes.
Windows 8 tablets
Conversely, Orr says he doesn’t expect to the first wave of Windows 8 tablets, based on either on ARM or Intel chips, to try to undercut the iPad on price. “I think they will be priced the same or above the iPad because I don’t expect Windows 8 tablets to be pitched as consumer devices initially, though there certainly will be some consumer adoption,” said Orr.
“The opportunity for Windows 8 is to provide a business-class tablet with Windows compatibility,” continued Orr. “That’s a straightforward proposition for IT departments.”
While tablets in the 10-inch range led by the iPad dominate the market, ABI says the trend in coming years will be towards display sizes between seven and nine inches as smaller-sized media tablets provide better portability options for end-users.