The online edition of the Wall Street Journal recently reported that sales of tablet computers are echoing the “wild exuberance” of the cellphone industry in its early years. According to a report by market watcher IHS iSuppli which was issued last Tuesday, tablet unit growth will soar 85% to 126 million in 2012 and 63% to 205 million in 2013. Apple’s iPad is expected to dominate sales, capturing 61% of 2012 market share. But IHS iSuppli predicts that things could get more interesting for the industry (and CIOs) in late 2012 with the launch of a new generation of tablets that use the forthcoming Windows 8 operating system.
IHS iSuppli predicts that these ‘PC-type’ tablets will generate 8 million unit sales next year, a 160% increase over expected 2012 figures. By comparison, what IHS Suppli calls “media tablets,” such as Apple’s iPad, will boast a more modest—but still impressive—60% increase in sales with 197 million units in 2013. PC tablets will appeal to business users looking for desktop-like features such as opening multiple windows and access to traditional desktop applications. As CIO Journal reported, Lenovo is among the enterprise PC makers hoping to tap this demand, with a Windows 8 tablet.
Despite hopes for the PC tablet, Apple remains the vendor to beat inside and out of the enterprise. After dipping to 55.1 percent share of the tablet market in late 2011 owing to the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, the company is on track to claim 61%, the same portion it had in 2011. IHS Suppli director Rhoda Alexander cited the Apple platform’s “complete hardware-plus-content ecosystem,” first forged with the creation of the iPod and the iTunes music store, as a significant obstacle for any rival to overcome.
IHS Suppli cited rumors concerning the possible deployment of a smaller 7.8 inch display version of the Apple iPad. If Apple does release such a version, IHS iSuppli writes, the emphasis will be on playing up the quality of the overall tablet experience, and not on a substantially lower price.
No matter which manufacturer will win the tablet race, app developers such as G5 Entertainment and Glu Mobile are set to benefit from the growth.