Research Firm: iPad Helps Define Broader Tablet Market

| iPad

Apple's new iPad has helped to define the broader tablet market, even though it has yet to ship, according to research firm ABI Research. The firm said Tuesday that shipments of tablet devices - defined as touchscreen interface devices measuring five to eleven inches with WiFi, video and gaming capabilities, will measure four million units in 2010, and rise to 57 million units by 2015, prodded along by the iPad.

"Apple's iPad is not the first media tablet," senior ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr said in a statement. "But it does help define this new device category."

According to the firm, the main focus of tablet devices will be for entertainment, and he said they will not replace laptops, netbooks, or mobile phones. In addition, ABI said that it believes tablets will remain a, "premium or luxury product for wealthy industrialized markets for at least several years."

The firm also believes that the iPad will help offer other tablet makers, especially smaller companies trying to bring new devices to market, exposure that could boost their sales.

"New entrants to this market are at a disadvantage since they lack the retail relationships and network operator agreements already built by the more mature vendors," Mr. Orr said. "Surprisingly, Apple may have done them a favor by raising the public profile of the whole media tablet category."

Jeff Gamet and this reporter discussed similar ideas in the most recent episode of The Apple Context Machine podcast, published over the weekend. Our comparison was to the boost that Apple gave USB with the introduction of the USB-only iMac.

USB had been around for some time before the iMac, but did not explode in after the iMac's release, when electronics vendors rushed a barrage of USB devices onto the market. ABI's research suggests that iPad could have a similar effect on the tablet market, boosting awareness of and exposure to competing devices.

Popular TMO Stories


Win Business User & Apple Shareholder

What the iPad (and the world) Really Needs

Have you seen what Axiotron is doing with Macs.  I took a look at Axiotron’s website and man did Apple make a mistake letting that guy go. Axiotrons product appears to have a lot of what I was hoping the iPad would. Apple should buy Axiotron right now and revamp the iPad to be a really innovative piece of equipment that no business exec, traveler or field worker would would want to leave home without.  The current iPad is just a media Toy. 

In addition to needing more memory and a real operating system w/ multi-tasking and Flash, the iPad needs a real solid state hard drive (Really…16 and 32 GB, is that all you can fit in that giant iPhone) and the ability to run MS Office and even Windows apps, allow pen based note taking and document markup with handwriting recognition as an option, hold video conferences and even allow a proximity hand-off of phone and Internet services from an iPhone to it. Oh yeah, don’t forget to allow landscape docking, SD card reader and memory expansion, and more connectivity like a few mini-USB ports and even an SATA plug for an external Drive connection.

I do not think it is too big, but I would also love a little bit smaller model that has two screens and opens like a notebook. If the screens are close at the hinge side you could view larger documents across both screens and otherwise read docs like a real book and use it like a notebook with a touch screen keyboard and menu options on one screen and the document on the other.

Come-on Apple, I thought you were innovative. I drew up plans for one of these over a few years ago. Call me if you need some good ideas.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account