After Apple founded the modern smartphone market in 2007, it took several years for smartphones using Google's Android operating system to collectively catch up to Apple's smartphone shipments. Now just three years on from the release of the original iPad, it appears that Android manufacturers are already overtaking Apple in the tablet market.
Market research firm ABI Research today released data showing that manufacturers of Android-based tablets shipped more units during this year's second quarter than Apple shipped iPads. In addition, Android tablet revenues matched those of iPads during the same quarter. These numbers confirm other analyst predictions from earlier this year, which stated that Android manufacturers would ship more tablets than Apple this year.
The speed with which Android manufacturers have caught Apple seems to have been due to price. Smaller, less-expensive 7-inch tablets now dominate Android tablet shipments. Sales of Amazon's Kindle fire were enough to pressure Apple into releasing the iPad Mini, though the company had previously claimed the 10-inch iPad was the proper size for a tablet. Now ABI's data shows that Apple is outselling the larger iPad, making up 60% of iPad shipments and a full 49% of iPad revenue. The shift toward smaller tablets has also pushed down the average selling price of both Android tablets and iPads.
“Twelve months is a long time for the peak lifecycle of a contemporary tablet," said Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI. "To remain a leader, Apple must continue to innovate and address real-world market needs.”