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4 reasons why Apple and its iPad still rule the tablet market

Brad Reed | March 3, 2011
When it comes to releasing new form factors for its iPad tablet and other products, Apple not only gets there first; it gets there best.

3. Enterprises are already adapting to it

Yes, this is counterintuitive since Apple has made clear that the iPad is a device for consumers first. And yet the iPad's success has led inevitably to employees bringing their tablets to work and wanting to use them for corporate e-mail. And while enterprises generally don't see the iPad as a replacement for a PC or a smartphone, a significant number of businesses are at least intrigued enough by their potential to order some for the workplace.

Research released late last year from ChangeWave found many enterprises are considering taking the tablet plunge. Among business IT buyers surveyed, 7% said their company currently deploys tablets, and 14% said their company planned to buy tablets in the first quarter of 2011. ChangeWave found that the iPad dominated corporate purchasing plans, as more than three-quarters of the businesses who planned on buying tablets reported plans to buy the iPad. So although Research in Motion (RIM) and Cisco have both developed tablets that are tailored specifically to enterprise users, it's the consumer-oriented iPad that most enterprises are looking at first.

4. The price is right

A cocky Steve Jobs bragged at the iPad 2 launch that the iPad "flummoxed" Apple's competitors and had set the bar for pricing in the tablet market. While Jobs was certainly overplaying his hand as far as future competition goes, for the time being he makes a good point. The iPad 2 not only has lower pricing on its 32GB model than the rival 32GB Motorola Xoom, it also has a far wider array of pricing options for customers to choose from. So if you don't feel like shelling out $729 for an unsubsidized 3G-capable 32GB iPad, you can get a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 for a mere $499, as well as 32GB and 64GB models that go for $599 and $699, respectively. In other words, people who don't have heavy-duty data requirements for their tablets will be able to purchase cheaper models while Xoom users so far can only choose the 32GB model.

None of this is to say that Apple is destined to rule the tablet market for infinity and beyond, of course. For example, look at the smartphone market: While the iPhone is still a massively popular smartphone, it's far from the only popular device in what has become an increasingly crowded market. But just as it took manufacturers such as Motorola, Samsung and HTC some time to catch up to the iPhone, so shall competitors struggle initially to match up with the iPad. For the time being, the tablet market is Apple's to lose.


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