Tablets have changed the computing market, to say the least. Where once there were only desktops and laptops, now the category of tablets have begun a race in the computing industry, set forth by Apple’s innovations. Whether you’re an Apple follower or Google groupie (I fall into the latter category), you can’t deny that tablets are here to stay.
iPad vs The Rest
Wait, what? How is it that iPads generate more web traffic (in N. America) than Android tablets if the latter is outselling them (worldwide)? Let’s look at some details.
- Apple brand is still strong. Data by IDC for 3Q13 shows that brand-wise, Apple had the most shipments with 14.1M tablets — an increase of only 0.1M units (0.6%) from the previous year (3Q12). Note that shipments figures are not necessarily equivalent to sales figures, but are presumably based on some level of demand rather than pure sales speculation.
- Samsung leads Android tablets. Samsung is the brand leader for Android tablets, and 2nd to Apple with 9.7M tablets shipped in Q3 2013 — an increase of 5.4M units (123%).
- Android outships iOS tablets. Overall, Android brands, collectively outshipped iPads with a total of 33.5M units.
- Full IDC tablet shipment figures table further below.
- iPad leads in tablet web surfing. Despite Android grabbing over 70% (70.4%) of the tablet market share — an increase from 3Q12′s nearly 60% (59.8%) — Apple iPad tablets still managed to generate 81% of N. American web traffic on tablets (down from 81% in 2Q13.
- Android barely used for mobile Web? It took Kindle Fire, Galaxy Tab and Nexus tablets together to generate 13.4% of N. American tablet web traffic in 3Q13. (Note: Chitika determined web traffic by sampling “tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian tablet online ad impressions” in their ad network. The time frame was Sep 15-21, 2013.) A 2Q13 report from Monetate showed iPads generating over 90% (90.63%) of the traffic that quarter.
- Tablet ownership growing. Who leads in the future depends on which mobile operating system has the most cumulative users. Over a third (35%) of Americans 16+ years old own a tablet (Pew Internet Research study, published Sep 18, 2013). This is a slight increase from the 34% indicated in a Jun 10, 2013, Pew report , and will likely have increased over the Dec 2013 holiday season.
- Don’t forget e-readers. 43% of Americans 16+ years old own either a tablet or e-book reader, as of mid-Oct 2013 — a figure that increased to 50% after the Dec 2013 holiday season.
Apple iPad’s Advantages Over Competitor Tablets
So why does the iPad have an advantage over Android tablets in these types of uses?
- Apple was first with a tablet device. The iPad has the advantage of being first to market in terms of modern tablet devices, attracting both users and accessory makers before anyone else, building on the Apple brand of quality computing devices.
- The iPad provides convenience, power, robust use. The iPad is lighter and faster with each generation, so it’s easier to carry around yet durable in the field.
- Apple was first with custom apps. While Apple’s App Store was not the first “app store” in the generic sense, they’re thought of as at least the first app market for the current era of smartphones, where 3rd party developers can publish apps. Possibly because of this perception of “first to market”, app publishers often develop for iOS first — sometimes even exclusively. Apps can be expensive to develop, and the App Store has proven to be more profitable, on average, for publishers.