Well,that’s that then.
October 23rd 2012 – The launch of the iPad Mini. Put the date in your diary. The date that any competition in the tablet market officially disappears.
Maybe I’m a little premature in forecasting impending doom for competition within the sector but let’s be honest, with the plethora of tablet specific apps, the already incredibly loyal huge user base and developers that love the platform, Apple all but have it sewn up.
The competition so far can only be classed as weak.
The Nexus 7. By far the best 7″ tablet launched to date and yet it has been beset by issues ranging from build quality to screen problems to storage problems. Whilst the range of 10″ Android tablets have come a long way, their impact on the iPad is so negligible they are hardly worth mentioning.
There are so few tablet specific apps for Android produced its almost laughable and even with Google’s recent call to arms to developers is this really going to change? Heavyweights such as Sky are throwing money around to get decent apps on iOS and brilliant ones on the iPad, yet Android hasn’t even got a proper solution for iPlayer.
Indeed Android owners can only look on in envy as iPad users fire up app after app designed specifically for their tablets.
Without the full support of developers and without a really competitive range of products the Android manufacturers are pretty much out of the race. So what about the other manufacturers?
Microsoft. The Surface pricing was revealed today and it can hardly be called cheap. Whilst broadly in line with the iPad price structure and priced competitively for a premium product, Microsoft are effectively starting in the market from scratch. Enterprise could well be a key area here however the volumes that will sell are highly unlikely to trouble Apple’s dominance. One key selling point for MS is the way that the Surface is likely to tie in to the rest of the Microsoft eco-system. Is that however enough to make an indent? I think not.
That leaves Blackberry and the Playbook. There have been rumours circulating for some time of a Playbook 2 complimented by some leaked photos. RIM however are preparing for the launch of BB10 along with their new handsets. The focus of the company is going to be squarely on promoting their new devices, is their really room for a brand new tablet too?
The bottom line is that Microsoft, RIM and Android all suffer from the same problem when trying to compete in the tablet market. When Apple launched the original iPad there wasn’t a market. Now years down the line the market is massive, developers have thrown their weight behind iOS on the iPad and produced some simply excellent apps and consumers have bought into it in a big way.
With the launch of the iPad Mini, Apple will have all bases covered and the software is already in place ready and waiting to be downloaded. There is no having to wait for developers to create apps, no eco-system building to be done, it’s all already there.
Personally I have a Nexus 7 and I love it to bits but I fear for the competition once the iPad Mini is launched – so much so that I even have the 7″ iPad on my Christmas list!!
Is the iPad Mini a market killer? Are Google doing enough to promote competition in the market? Will the surface make a dent? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!