Will Anybody Beat The iPad?

Date: January 29, 2013 | Category: Interesting | by Edwin C

The iPad has had an amazing run so far, destroying sales records left and right and making Apple investors wonder why they didn’t get in earlier. Can this trend continue indefinitely though? As Apple continues to upgrade the iPad, other manufacturers are releasing tablets of their own. As the competition increases the odds of the iPad remaining as the tablet king begin to decrease. Or do they? Let’s take a closer look.

More competition might mean less iPads sold, but it also will mean that the iPad will still be the clear leader. This might not sound like a big deal to investors, because “winning” doesn’t really matter, sales numbers do. But these iPad competitors cannot stay in the game long with just adequate sales figures. This means they will eventually drop out and leave the iPad as the sole leader in the tablet market.

So can anyone overtake the iPad and become the king of all tablets? My answer is no and let me tell you why.

Apps

One of the main reasons the iPad is so successful is because of the apps. There are over 100,000 apps designed for the iPad in the app store. The Apple eco-system is strong and nobody can compete with it, not even Android. All of the iPad competitors don’t even have that amount combined.

Will there be another tablet that can have as many apps as the iPad does? This doesn’t seem likely, as app developers only want to create apps that will make money. The only apps that make money are ones that are downloaded by lots of users. Unless another competitor can match the iPad in the amount of apps there’s no beating the iPad.

Price

The iPad is pricey, with the lowest cost iPad being $499. Competitors may see this as a weakness. In order to overtake the iPad in sales they would need to create an iPad that is just as good, but costs considerably less. Amazon made headway with their Kindle Fire which was priced at $199. But it was more of a color e-reader with some apps, rather than a full blown tablet device.

The only way I see another tablet overtaking the iPad is by lowering their price, similar to what HP did with their TouchPad, permanently. Sure, they would lose a lot of money, but you need to “seed” your product out first to create a massive amount of users of your tablet and your operating system. Then, once you’ve got them, you can gradually begin raising the prices on future tablets. This is such a risky move for any company to take. If it works, they strike oil. If it fails, their company will too.

Another option is to look at what is happening with the gaming industry. For every xbox, wii or playstation that is sold, each of those companies loses money. Only when customers buy several games do they begin to make a profit. Can this same “loss leader” principle apply to tablets? We’ll leave it up to Google, Sony, HP and Samsung to figure out.

 

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