Analysts love to pontificate, especially when it comes to Apple. Scott Sutherland, of Wedbush Securities is the latest to pop his head over the parapet, claiming Apple sold a million iPad 2’s over the weekend, its first since launch last Friday. Specious? Maybe not. Supplies have all but dried up, with Apple stores running out and tech retailer Best Buy selling out in ten minutes.
Assuming this stat is spot on, Apple will doubtless be quick to confirm its veracity, if only to show-off to its rivals that it’s reached the million milepost in three days with the iPad 2. By comparison, the iPad took 28 days to get to the same landmark figure.
So what can the competition do? For all the chatter about Android Honeycomb tablets smashing the iPad’s dominance, only one is currently available, the Motorola Xoom. And even that is lacking Flash from the start - hardly a ringing endorsement.
Meanwhile, the HP TouchPad has now been officially pegged for June, when the iPad 2 will be out of sight. The HTC Flyer is unlikely to land until then, and while it has some excellent features, it’s going to come too late to the party. The BlackBerry PlayBook is so late arriving, you have to wonder whether it’s even worth its while coming to market at all.
It all begs the question whether the iPad’s rivals can keep up? Apple’s new slate might not have reinvented the wheel, but its breezy interface and stunning looks make it every bit as good as its new rivals.
At the start of 2011, it was assumed Apple was going to struggle to cope with the likes of the Galaxy Tab et al. And while its share is down, it’s still hovering around the 75 per cent mark. Apple has set the agenda, and the failure of Android OEMs to release their products in timely fashion is going to cost them dear.
It hurts to say it, but it looks like the iPad 2 will not have the kind of competition gadget fans and tech watchers are hoping for. This isn’t the story of the iPhone all over: that was a gadget working its way into an already evolved market. The iPad has set the tone and while everyone else watches, it’s romping into the distance.
So what can be done? Rush releases? Perhaps, but that could lead to real issues with consumers. Continued Apple bashing? It barely registers on Cupertino (and consumers’) radar. No matter what iPad 2 rivals do, they’ll struggle. That’s not to say they’re bad, just that Apple has done a number on them again. It’s hard to see where the iPad 2 will lose out in 2011. The wait for a proper tablet ding-dong could go on into 2012 at this rate.