Why the iPad Will Stay at the Top

Apple has seen an unprecedented amount of success with its latest major product line, the iPad. Some estimates put the iPad with a rounded 100% market share, their competitors aren’t even on the board.

As we all know, Apple got there first – in terms of modern tablets – by launching their first product in April of 2010. However, it’s evident that even now, with many tablets on the market, Apple is still leading the pack.

Your choice in tablet probably comes down to personal brand loyalty. Chances are that, if you’re reading this site, you’re somehow interested in the technology industry, and probably have good knowledge of the goings on.

Therefore, from our perspective, choosing Google or Apple is probably up to some sort of brand loyalty influenced by the devices we already own (for example, a Mac user is probably more likely to buy an iPad). However, the average consumer who wants a tablet doesn’t necessarily have any underlying loyalty to a certain brand that dictates their choice. So, why is the iPad the device of choice? What’s behind its insane success in comparison to its competitors?

Because Specs Don’t Matter

The Motorola Xoom is a more powerful tablet than the iPad. So, why would someone choose an iPad over it? They’d be crazy not to go with the Xoom, right?

It’s because the average consumer who walks into a Best Buy doesn’t care about the specs of a PC, unless they’re somehow inclined to read up. And that same idea applies to tablets.

Where specifications are coming into play is in real-world performance. It’s lovely to see some graphics benchmarks running on an iPad, but it’s about the games, and the applications, that make users keeping coming to Apple. I’m sure you’ve seen Apple’s TV ads that feature popular apps running on their devices. Android? It’s more about showing people walking around in white attire, not the mere 17 apps optimised for their tablets.

Brand and Marketing

On that same note, Apple does a great job at marketing. Apple is probably one of, if not the, most identifiable brands out there. Possibly because of their massive marketing campaigns, or maybe due to the large Apple that adorns each of their products. With the success of products like the iPod, Apple has a solid overall reputation for quality products – the iPod’s popularity offers Apple continued free advertising.

Apple has, for a long time, been the “premium” brand that most people desire. The iPad is also a very in-demand product, because people love Apple’s brand, reputation, and quality.

Again, it’s not entirely about the product itself, but more about showing off and owning such a desirable product. Maybe that’s why it’s hard to spot anything but a MacBook in Starbucks.

Back in April of 2010, just after the iPad had come out in the UK, I started taking it around with me and the attention I got was unbelievable. Pretty much everywhere I used it I received at least five comments. If I were to do the same with a Motorola Xoom, or Samsung Galaxy Tab, the public reception would be undoubtably different.

Whilst some owners wish for widgets and other homescreen features, the iPad maintains a very minimalist interface.

The Apps

If you want to experience an actual application – one that’s optimised for a large display – on Android you won’t have much luck. This is because Android only has around 17 applications that have been worked on to gain proper tablet optimisation, and the quality of applications is very different. Most of those optimised applications are great, but there are a lot more of them on the iPad.

If you had a chance to watch Apple’s “Year One” video from the March 2nd keynote, you’ll see how several major industries have benefited from the iPad, medical being one of them. Without the iPad-optimized applications that can be used during practice, I can’t see how the iPad would be used on such a scale in that industry.

The applications available on the App Store, and the ease of creating them, mean that enterprising businesses (a large income factor in Apple’s business) are buying iPads in bulk. For the more casual consumer, the attraction of a blooming ecosystem of applications including the likes of Angry Birds, Infinity Blade, and iBooks, is strong.

There's nothing like Infinity Blade on Honeycomb.

Natural Progression

One final strength that the iPad has. is that there’s already a ton of Mac, iPhone, and iPod users out there. Some have one product in that trio, some have two, some have all of them. These products work perfectly within Apple’s ecosystem, so a move to jump out of that seems unusual.

With all of Apple’s devices working together through iTunes, the iPad seems like nothing but a smooth addition to a customer’s product library.

Thanks to iTunes, syncing an iPad and moving all your content and data across is a super simple process. For most, the difficulty of setting up a Xoom might not be worth the minimal software advantages that Honeycomb offers.

Timing

There’s no doubt that the iPad has revolutionised the post-PC market with the iPad. Apple’s tablet was the first of its kind, whatever anyone says. This is important because Apple got in there first and built up a good reputation. I waited excitedly since 3am for my original iPad on launch day when there was simply nothing else on the market. The iPad was my first Apple product and has cemented me into their ecosystem, purely because they were first to the market.

However, getting there first also means that developers jumped on the Apple bandwagon, helping to build up that 65,000+ lead in their application store. As developers saw the iPad as their only option, promises of upcoming Android hardware (and software) just wasn’t enough when there was an successful and popular product already available.

Final Thoughts

There are certainly many more reasons why Apple’s products in general are popular, but these are a few of the key reasons that have (and will) make the iPad successful. With the desirability of their products, working together with the applications available and the marketing effort of Apple, there’s little to persuade customers to go elsewhere.

Plus, everyone’s using an iPad. Why would you be the odd one out?

Your Comments

We’d love to hear what you think are the strongest and best reasons for buying an iPad over the competition – feel free to get involved and write in the comments! Do you think the iPad will stay at the top?


  • http://brngrnd.com Bruno Grande

    Why the iPad over the others?

    It’s way too easy to draw parallels with the iPod and its respective industry, but it remains true: Apple was the first mover and they opted for simplicity and seamlessness.

    That’s what attracts consumers.

    And as a college student, I can say that aesthetics are also important. I ask around and many say that they have a MacBook because it looks nice (and it’s “hip”). You can extrapolate this to the iPod and iPad. Apple’s intolerance to “holes” in their products and their balanced use of quality materials makes the iPad really attractive. Until now, if there’s one tablet that will be of serious threat to the iPad, it’s the HP Touchpad. Simple, elegant, Apple-like. There’s one problem: the iPad is already in its 2nd generation. HP would have to make sure its tablet is virtually flawless when it comes onto the market. Then again, whoever wants a tablet probably already has an iPad (I’m expecting my iPad 2 April 29th).

    I believe that the iPad will stay at the top, just like how the iPod will not budge from being the de facto portable media player.

    Bruno.

  • xxdesmus

    “There’s no doubt that the iPad has revolutionised the post-PC market with the iPad. Apple’s tablet was the first of its kind, whatever anyone says.”

    You lost just about any credibility after those 2 sentences. Wow.

    • banaslee

      And your point is…

    • http://brngrnd.com Bruno Grande

      I agree that it may sound a bit extreme at first, but it’s mostly true. If there is one product that has opened up the market for tablets, creating a new category of computers, it’s doubtless the iPad. If you think there’s another product that has done a better job at that, I would like to know it. :)

      Granted, the iPad was, strictly speaking, not the very first “tablet computer”, but I believe it really was “the first of its kind.” If you think that the statement “whatever anyone says” is extreme, go around and ask what’s the first tablet that comes to mind. I hope you can predict as well as me that the vast majority would respond the iPad.

      And, by the way, you should know better than to take 2 sentences out of context. Shame on you. :P

    • Alex McKenna

      The first real car was not Crackenthorpe’s steam-waggon of 1798, because it was impractical, unsafe, unreliable, expensive.. Just like all those ghastly devices that looked fine on paper but were just horrific in every way, with WIndows on top just to compound the horror.

  • http://rebzmedia.com Chris

    @xxdesmus

    I’d love to hear the reasoning behind your comment.

  • http://www.hammyhavoc.com Hammy Havoc

    What I hated about my wasted time with PCs: Hardware shuffling.
    I hated having to upgrade once every few months just to keep running the latest software or because a software update stopped my hardware working.

    Why do I love Macs and iOS? I don’t have to fret and worry ‘will this great new piece of software I’ve just read about run on my hardware?’, I can just download it and run it without worrying. I spend less time messing around and more time actually *using* my investment.

  • http://www.birthformen.com Arp

    The likelihood of Apple losing both mindshare and marketshare in the tablet market is extremely slim. We’ve seen it before with the iPod and that device dominated before the introduction of apps, in spite of its so-so sound quality.

    I’m still not a big fan of iTunes’ walled garden, but I’m less of a fan of wasting time configuring this, that & everything in-between. The #1 reason the iPad will dominate are the apps – it’s a crazy easy way to install software. Apple didn’t invent it of course (afaik the Linux repository was first), but they tweaked it to perfection. And there are some insanely cool apps out and compared to boxed software they are cheap. $5 for the new Garageband app? $6 for Infinity Blade? Those are no-brainers at that price.

    The #2 reason would be app sales – more people buy iOS apps than Android, giving developers a great reason to put their efforts into iOS first and everything else second. I own a Droid and I’ve been compelled to buy just 1 app. If I had an iPhone, I can think of almost 20 off the top of my head that I would already own. The majority of the cooler apps will come out on iOS first.

    #3 is ubiquity. Most people thinking tablet are thinking iPad. More and more schools & businesses are deploying it. The mindshare is, I think, even higher than iPod’s.

    I can probably rattle off 3 or 4 more reasons but those are enough. I’m curious to know if anyone can come up with 1 or 2 reasons why the iPad won’t dominate. I myself can’t think of any.

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