iPad Mini: Will Apple Retain Market Share?

There’s little doubt that this has been an exciting year for both the tablet and smartphone markets. Whilst Apple has continued to dominate with the iPad, competition is hotting up, what with Amazon Fire, Surface, a whole new range of Nexus’ and Samsung getting in on the act too. In the run up to the festive season, this will mean that many will be wondering which to buy. There’s very little doubt that Apple’s loyal band of fans will be looking to buy the Mini, it’s a typical Apple product, slim, sleek and feels good in the hand (and is especially good for gaming). However, with a price tag just that little bit higher than the rest, will this put fans off?

I doubt it; the advantage that Apple has above any other product is its App Store. Whilst Google Play has only slightly less apps than Apple, the growing concern about the security of the Android platform may put many off.

What is the iPad Mini?

A silly question some might think but it’s just a smaller iPad with similar features. As yet in the UK, only the Wi-Fi model is available, with 3/4G models hitting the shops within the next month. The 7.9 inch mini display uses the same LED backlit technology as the latest iPad and features a Facetime HD camera and iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording.

Further specs:

  • Powerful A5 processor
  • Apple's iPad mini
  • 7.2mm thick (or thin, depending on your perspective) – that’s 23% thinner than a standard iPad
  • Weighs in at just 308 grams – that’s 53% lighter than an iPad, easy to carry around with you.
  • Apps – well, they hardly even need a mention, with more than 275,000 for everything from business users to gamers, the App Store has something for everyone.

Of course, it’s reasonably common knowledge that the late, great Steve Jobs didn’t want to produce a 7” version of a tablet device, but Apple had to really maintain their market position.

It’s not just a case of price either, Google, Amazon and Samsung have lower-priced, smaller devices; in order to stay in the game, Apple have to consider portability, especially with 4G making its way around the world and arriving in the UK today (at a rather hefty price for very little data though, EE).

Latest research from Strategy Analytics found that in Q3 of 2012, Apple’s share of the market dropped to 57% of the global market and allowed Android to reap a record 41%.

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said: “Android captured a record 41 percent share of global tablet shipments in Q3 2012, jumping from 29 percent a year earlier. Global Android tablet shipments doubled annually to 10.2 million units. No single Android vendor comes close to Apple in volume terms at the moment, but the collective weight of dozens of hardware partners, such as Asus, Samsung and Nook, is helping Google’s Android platform to register a growing presence in tablets.”

Windows, whilst the Surface hasn’t quite been released yet, took a meagre 2% of the tablet market in Q3; however, the release of Windows 8 should see this rise.

The below table from Strategy shows how the market has grown over the course of a years and clearly places Apple in front for the moment.

Global Tablet OS Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q3 '11

Q3 '12

Apple iOS

11.1

14.0

Android

5.0

10.2

Microsoft

0.4

0.4

Others

0.7

0.1

Total

17.2

24.7

Global Tablet OS Market Share %

Q3 '11

Q3 '12

Apple iOS

64.5%

56.7%

Android

29.2%

41.3%

Microsoft

2.3%

1.6%

Others

4.1%

0.4%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

Total Growth Year-over-Year %

288.6%

43.4%

The full report can be found here. The iPad Mini should help Apple’s iOS to regain some ground and keep a strong position in the market. Of course, only time will tell but with such a loyal following and the sheer quality of the iPad family in general, I can’t see them losing out to Android anytime soon.