This Just In: The iPad Still Rules

Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad is expected to lose market share as more competitors enter the tablet market. So what impact are recent product introductions -- ranging from new tablets to a tablet-optimized Android operating system -- having on the iPad?

Well, as of May, the iPad still ruled. That's based on statistics released by comScore, which says the iPad's share of tablet data-traffic consumption was an astounding 95% or more in 12 of 13 countries surveyed.

How do you like them apples?
Here's a look at comScore's just-released statistics on the iPad's share of tablet-data traffic consumption in May.

  • 100%: Japan
  • 99%: U.K.
  • 98%: Australia and France
  • 97%: Spain, Germany, the United States, and Argentina
  • 96%: Chile
  • 95%: Brazil, Canada, and Singapore
  • 89%: India

To be sure, data traffic probably doesn't correlate perfectly with market share or sales. And the comScore data didn't include China, the world's second-largest economy. Nonetheless, these numbers suggest that recent improvements in tablet options have done little to dent the iPad's popularity. And they're consistent with a recent statement by NVIDIA's (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) CEO, who said Android tablets aren't selling well.

Who's on second?
The very distant first runner-up in each of these countries except Canada, home of Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , was the Android operating system. Android tablets include Motorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI  ) Xoom, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, and Dell's (Nasdaq: DELL  ) Streak. Research In Motion's proprietary PlayBook is off to a lukewarm start.

It can be tempting to call a game like this in the early innings, but let's not forget that other players are still coming onto the field. Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) proprietary webOS-based TouchPad has also received positive reviews and ships on July 1. Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) Android-based S1 and S2 have unique designs that have received encouraging reviews. They're due out by this fall.

Foolish takeaway
It's definitely too soon to call the tablet wars. Still, recent data shows that Apple's iPad is maintaining a wide lead even as competitors step up their game and more companies enter the playing field.

How do you think the tablet wars will play out? An easy way to stay on top of market developments is The Motley Fool's free new My Watchlist feature. You can get up-to-date news and analysis by adding these stocks to your Watchlist now:

Fool contributor Cindy Johnson owns no shares of any stock mentioned in this story.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of NVIDIA and Apple, creating a bull call spread position in Apple, and writing puts in NVIDIA. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (16) | Recommend This Article (3)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2011, at 6:31 PM, 1984macman wrote:

    The iPad 2 was the proverbial nail in the coffin for competitors. It basically gave Apple nine more monthe of dominance. In addition, the iPad market has grown too large for those who would benefit being on it to ignore, including publishers of books, magazines, movies and TV. Finally, the App Store now has a huge stable of well built apps. It will be well nigh impossible for the competition to match that any time soon.

    It's gotten to the point where the competition doesn't have to just match the Apple experience - they have to come up with a compelling reason NOT to buy an iPad instead of their product.

    And I honestly just don't see that happening.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2011, at 6:55 PM, etgh wrote:

    Congratulations to Apple !

    The article doesn't say how old the data is, but if it was before April, then it really was to only game in town.

    I do think Apple's marketshare will start to decline (it just has to !) but I do think they will dominate this market for the foreseeable future.

    RIM's Playbook was supposed to sell 250,00 units but came in at a healthy 500,000 and is my view, off to a strong start. It is arguably the best tablet hardware platform available but does lack some pending capabilities, especially for the non-Blackberry buyers. Those shortfalls will be corrected in the next few months.

    However, Apple's achievement cannot be overlooked, they continue to dominate with a great product and excellent customer reviews.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2011, at 7:00 PM, TMFRhino wrote:

    Hey etgh,

    The data was from May.

    Best,

    Eric

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 12:58 AM, lucasmonger wrote:

    iPad 3 will need to come out in 9-10 months to continue to one-up the competition. We'll just have to wait and speculate what Jobs and company have up their sleeves, but as a long time apple investor, I'm a bit worrids that they cannot keep hitting grand slams. At some point the iPad will be as slim as a sheet of paper that you can fold into a little paper football and stick in your pocket while running for years without charging. Then what? Virtual reality glasses from the now cancelled Caprica TV show?

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 1:49 AM, deasystems wrote:

    @ITSpecialist: I don't think your imaginative denials will overcome reality...

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 2:20 AM, yeomandroid wrote:

    Funny how the Apple fanbois want no competition. If you take into consideration how long Android tablets have been out, hardware wise they are pretty good machines. Almost all of them have built in USB ports which you can attach USB drives, gamepads and joysticks into. All of them have dual core 1.0 GHz processors (mostly NVIDIA Tegra). Android tabs are not relegated to the limit of storage on-board with micro-SD and even full-size SD slots. What is lacking is the amount of tablet specific applications. I recall Apple was having the same issue with iPad when it rolled out. At least Android tablets can play flash, and do not relegate your download experience to iTunes only. If Apple was the only choice, then it would be a sad world.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 3:11 AM, Neroon wrote:

    Competition is great and Apply may need to buy some because it's weak so far. None have the software support or the ecosystem that Apple has. Only a couple can compete with the iPad 1 let alone the iPad 2. The Playbook is the last nail in RIMs coffin, too little too late with too much missing.

    @ ITSpecialist: you are almost amusing. iOS Multitasking is MT done right. The hardware does what it needs to do. With iCloud coming and then iPad 3 -- I pity the competition.

    It's going to be interesting to watch this play out. The biggest loser in all this though is Steve Balmer and MS, a company with no strategy except trying to cram Win 8 on a tablet #failwhale

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 8:52 AM, rlcato wrote:

    @yeomandroid and ITSpecialist: first off; Flash: so 1998. After +100m SOLD iOS devices and many millions of sold Android phones, ain't no-one's missin' Flash. It has its moments -like ads and the occasional Facebook & Myspace (haha) game. 

    Speaking of games, if all you want is to concern yourself is games and not productive apps, of which there are hardly any, then maybe these cheaper tablets will do. You have a huge choice with SD cards that might work; various types of USB ports to match up, along with the many sites that carry various types of fun, untested apps with hidden nasties ready to suck your battery or private info away; and the gonna's: RIMM's gonna run Android apps; MMI gonna run 4g; these tablets gonna be running Flash at speed because they're gonna have all this wizz-bang hardware built-in.

    Apple's been inviting competition for a number of years with the iPhone and there are +80 models of Android phones v. 2 money making models and add 1.5 years, a flood of floundering attempts at shipped tablets not being sold v. 2 money making models and the only one that's left is HP. 

    If HP's tablet does not catch on, this will be nothing more than a repeat of the iPod.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 10:06 AM, TMFBreakerRob wrote:

    Sure, iPad can be dethroned. All a company has to do is produce a better product at a better price and include something as effective as the Apple ecosystem. And it would help if they have the Apple brand cachet as well. Oh yeah, they'll have to mobilize the portion of the global electronic production system that Apple doesn't already have sewn up. Should happen any day now....LOL

    It bears remembering that leads in consumer electronics have never lasted indefinitely and I suspect that will play out here in time. Eventually, Apple will probably be "just another company". In the meantime though, they're making incredible amounts of money and are struggling to meet global demand.

    The result is an amazing accumulation of cash. Eventually, that will force up the share price. Yes, I own shares and am patiently waiting for further significant rises in the share price. :)

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 10:41 AM, CluckChicken wrote:

    This is still a very young market, and mostly a gimmick one right now. There are still a lot of people out there that like the idea of the tablets but see the current batch of them as not having enough ability to make it worth picking one up yet. The first to provide one that is able to find this point will become successful.

    I currently do not see Apple as being the one to meet this point. Why? Well they have two problems. One the iPhone. If the iPad gets to be just a big iPhone why would people buy one of both? Two is the Macbook Air. This is a lost product, it cannot do as much as a laptop and not much more than an iPad but doesn't meet that middle point either, it kind of combines what is wrong with both. Apple has no interest in eating into the Air's sales by making the iPad powerful enough to replace the Air. Unless/Until Apple is willing to kill the Air it appears that they are going to be limiting the potential of the iPad.

    Also one should never discount Apple self killing with one of their traditional obsoleting efforts they do ever couple years. It usually is not a problem with those that will always buy your products but each time they would do this in the PC land the returning number was smaller.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 11:11 AM, rlcato wrote:

    @CluckChicken; you completely lost me on that.

    (Scratch head)

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 1:23 PM, CluckChicken wrote:

    Ricato what part?

    iPhone v iPad - there obviously has to be something different between these besides just size. If one has a 4" screen and the other a 9" and those are the only differences it gets more difficult to justify why one would own both.

    iPad v Air - Here again you are looking to have people get both. Problem here is that one product is looking to take people from the other's market. The Air (even the upcoming one) will not have the ability to replace a desktop or a full fledged laptop, it doesn't have the local storage, graphics processing, ports or expandablity, so it fits into a 'just the basics' area. In the 'just the basics' group all it has going for it is that it is thin with a price twice that of the basic laptops. The tablets are looking to be the item of choice for those that want a 'just the basics' type of machine. If you need a laptop with power you are already not looking at an Air. If the iPad can do 90% of what an Air can do at several hundred less, why get an Air?

    I would say dump the Air and add a couple USB ports to the iPad. This however will probably take a significant redesign of the iOS given the extermly large number of devices the iOS would have to deal with. Which such a move from Apple generally means that all that came before it will no longer be useable, and making if far easier for people to then consider switching.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 1:30 PM, deasystems wrote:

    @CluckChicken: Huh?

    (It's clear you have *no* familiarity with the products you commented on.)

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2011, at 4:22 PM, CluckChicken wrote:

    @ deasystems - which part would I lack said familiarity with?

    I would assume you mean the Air and if that is the case I know then you have not actually used one, as I unfortunately have. The line I was feed was "this can handle whatever it is you need to do" except the person handing it too me didn't have any idea what I needed to do or even where I would be doing it (if a hotel has both wireless and wired connections, use the wired). I ended up using my personal laptop to do all my work because even though it weighed far more and was 6 months older it had more power, a larger drive and didn't require a bag full of accessories (that 3rd USB port does wonders). If I needed a laptop for internet and basic uses the Air would have been fine and so would an iPad, so why would one spend 999 for an Air when the iPad is half that?

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2011, at 1:35 AM, deasystems wrote:

    @CluckChicken: "which part would I lack said familiarity with?"

    Apparently. every part. Examples:

    "If the iPad gets to be just a big iPhone why would people buy one of both?" Because the user experience of the two devices is very different. Beyond that, the iPad's graphics processor and CPU are much more powerful than the iPhone's. BTW, the iPad has no phone functions.

    "...the Macbook Air. This is a lost product, it cannot do as much as a laptop." The MacBook Air *is* a laptop and it can do everything any laptop can do.

    "The Air (even the upcoming one) will not have the ability to replace a desktop or a full fledged laptop." Yes, it does.

    "...it doesn't have the local storage, graphics processing, ports or expandablity."

    Yes, it has all of those things.

    Read the reviews. Here are excerpts from a few:

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/26/macbook-air-review-late-2...

    "The 13-inch...may have just enough juice to become a lot of people's one and only; it was consistently surprising to us during our testing...it's hard to deny that the fit, finish, lower pricing, and overall performance of the new Airs makes them desirable and imminently usable laptops."

    http://www.businessinsider.com/macbook-air-review-2010-11

    "...it is finally the laptop I've been waiting for: Light enough to carry around everywhere, while quick enough to do what I want it to do. Whereas the iPad is a great play machine, the MacBook Air has been a great work machine."

    http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/26/13-inch-macbook-air-review/

    "I got my hands on one of the new MacBook Airs...this has replaced my MacBook Pro as my go-to machine...It’s not just the size of the thing that I love so much...it’s the speed....And by speed, I also mean 'power'."

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2011, at 10:49 AM, rlcato wrote:

    I've read all your comments -a number of times- and to what I could make out, you didn't understand the concept of portability & convenience. As of now, the Air can run Windows -and other full-fledge programs- on-the-fly for example while keeping weight and accessories down minus cords. The USB plug-ins are stop-gaps for those ocassions. With Bluetooth and wifi, what do you need to plug in?... apart from recharging batteries.

     The iPad even more-so but quicker access without the cumbersome attributes of a laptop. (By the way, you can run Windows on a iPad -thru VMware & linking a desktop or laptop.) But the apps for the iPad are more for portable convenience not full-on "office assigned work". In inclement conditions, an ordinary laptop would need to be babied.

     The iPad will NEVER be as powerful as a laptop. There is no point in doing that like the many failed tablets of years ago. And now the archaic netbooks that you seem to be comparing with. Windows was costing more than those and if you bought one and realised that, what was the point; they failed.

    You stated you bought an Air. The Air, as the name implies, means you should not need to physically connect anything to it. It was not made as a desktop replacement. Close/Open the lid & go. If given the choice between wired and wireless, you choose wired while using a tool that's promoted as wireless? Why? And why 'require a bag full of accessories' when all you need is a charger and a length of USB cord... maybe a wireless mouse.

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