Gartner Projects Apple to Rule Tablet Market Through 2015

Apple will rule the tablet market through 2015, and command 50% or more share through at least 2014, according to a new report from Gartner. The market research firm said that Apple’s “superior and unified user experience” will allow the company to maintain its lead and make challenges to the iPad very difficult going forward.


“We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, wrote in a statement. “This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal.”

The figure below shows 2010 unit sales, as well as projections for 2011, 2012, and 2015. In those projections, Apple is crushing the competition in the early years, and is the dominant player in 2015, though Android is finally catching up in the last year of the projections.

Tablet Unit Projections Through 2015

Chart by The Mac Observer from Gartner data

Similar projections from other analysts have Android beginning to (inexplicably) take off as early as 2012—Gartner’s numbers are the most bullish for Apple’s continued dominance in this market compared to all the other mainstream projections we have seen.

The report also acknowledged Apple as the price leader and said that the company’s foresight in securing favorable component deals has given it a significant competitive lead.

“Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen,” Mr. Milanesi wrote. “This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models that offer storage and connectivity options.”

Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, added, “Most of Apple’s competitors are struggling to meet Apple’s prices without considerably sacrificing margins. Screen quality and processing power are the two hardware features that vendors cannot afford to compromise on. They should consider everything else ‘nice to have,’ rather than essential, in order to keep bills-of-materials costs competitive with those of the iPad.”

In the figure below, we sliced up the data for 2011 and 2015 to present it as market share.

 Tablet Share Projections for 2011 and 2015

Chart by The Mac Observer from Gartner data


Gartner is projecting that some 11 million Android devices will ship in calendar 2011, with market share of 17.3%. This represents a slight uptick from 2010’s 14.3%, and Gartner lowered its Android projections some 28% since its tablet report issued last quarter.

“So far, Android’s appeal in the tablet market has been constrained by high prices, weak user interface and limited tablet applications” Ms. Milanesi wrote in what could be characterized as stinging commentary.

She believes, however, that Ice Cream Sandwich, an upcoming version of Android, will go far in correcting the fragmentation Google has been seeing in its Android platform. Gartner expects strong OEM support for that release, and that this will help Android tablets going forward.


Windows 8 has a shot at making Microsoft a player in the tablet market, but Gartner said that the company’s late arrival could prove an obstacle as iOS and Android will be firmly established before the first Windows 8 tablets ship.

The firm said that Research In Motion’s QNX is “promising.” Enough said on that.