iPad Heats Up As The Fire Cools
June 5, 2012

iPad Heats Up As The Fire Cools

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com

Apple has already announced their impressive first quarter results for themselves, revealing they had a stellar post-holiday season. This hasn´t stopped the market research and analyst groups from making their own forecasts and predictions, however.

After all, while Apple announces numbers of products sold, some companies hide this information. Companies like Amazon, who only said they had sold “millions” of their new Kindle Fires. Yesterday, ABI Research released their own numbers concerning the state of tablet sales in Q1, and the results aren´t all that surprising. As the iPad continues to climb the charts, the Kindle Fire has all but lost its spark.

All told, tablet makers were able to ship 18.2 million devices during the first quarter of 2012, a 185% year-over-year improvement, according to ABI. If you´ve been following Apple news at all this year, it shouldn´t surprise you that Apple took more than the big cat´s share of these numbers. According to ABI, the Cupertino Crew´s shipments accounted for 11.8 of the total 18.2 million, or 2 out of every 3 tablets sold.

ABI attributes this strong showing to a new member to the iPad family, as well as a significant price reduction of the iPad 2. Number 2 on the list is Samsung, who managed to ship 1.1 million tablets. The Kindle Fire, however, “fizzled” going into 2012.

Jeff Orr, group director for ABI Research, said of the latest results, “A pattern similar to smartphones is also occurring in tablets. Apple and Samsung have demonstrated staying power while other tablet vendors ebb and flow like the tide.”

Surprisingly, ABI found RIM and Lenovo were able to improve on their shipment totals from last quarter by 233% and 107%, respectively. RIM has been significantly reducing the price of their PlayBook tablet offering, which may have spurred some of this improvement. The report lists tablet shipments from ASUS remaining flat from last quarter's numbers.

Other players in whatever tablet market is left, Dell, HP and LG, are listed as “retooling” their tablet portfolios for mid-year launches. These tablets are expected to take advantage of Android´s 4.0 OS as well as the highly hyped Windows 8 platform.

Also interesting to mention is customers´ usage of the iPad. According to ABI research, Apple out-ships its competitors by a factor of 8 when it comes to broadband enabled tablets. However, once these customers buy these 3G and 4G iPads, they are less likely to call their service provider and have them activated.

“The majority of iPad buyers continue to be satisfied with Wi-Fi wireless coverage,” says Orr. Perhaps iPad customers are more likely to pursue the “better safe than sorry” broadband-enabled options. ABI thinks this trend will continue, saying, “The leading model shipments and the ongoing challenges mobile operators face in persuading iPad owners to even try the mobile broadband connectivity once are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.”

These ABI numbers are quite different from the NPD numbers which were released only 2 weeks ago. According to NPD, Apple had shipped 13.6 million iPads, earning them a 62.8% of the market. While ABI didn´t list an exact number of Kindle Fires sold, NPD reports Amazon sold just under one million in Q1.

Of course, Apple announced they had sold 15.43 million iPads in the first quarter, reporting a much higher number than either research group, using the word “sold” rather than “shipped.”