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The 'new iPad': Analyst reaction

No surprises leave some disappointed, but Apple expected to maintain tablet dominance

The 'new iPad': Analyst reaction
The new iPad delivered the enhancements that were predicted, and should see Apple keeping the lead in the tablet market.

Analyst reaction to Apple's 'new iPad' has been mixed, with most analysts predicting that while the device will inevitably sell millions, it is perhaps not as exciting as the hype surrounding its launch.

"I think people are going to find it disappointing," said Silicon Valley technology analyst Rob Enderle. "While it is an improvement over the iPad 2... people are going to be expecting more."

Gartner said that it expects Apple to maintain its market leadership, but didn't think the details of the new device warranted an increase in their forecasts for Apple's business.

"I'd call the new iPad an evolutionary device with some revolutionary experiences," said research director Michael Gartenberg.

Jonas Zelba, research aalyst, Information and Communication Technologies Practice, Middle East and North Africa, Frost & Sullivan commented: While a lot of consumers around the world were expecting to see revolutionary iPad 3, Apple unveiled the new iPad. For years, consumers have been used to getting everything that they expect from the new Apple products as well as additional features that make for a ‘positive Apple surprise', or late CEO Steve Jobs' iconic 'one more thing'. This is however not the case with the new iPad. The new iPad features the updates that everyone was expecting - the retina display, better camera, more powerful processor called the A5X chip and Long Term Evolution (LTE).

"LTE has relevance in the US market as it is one of the few countries globally with decent LTE coverage, therefore consumers from countries like the UK will not benefit much from this upgrade. Overall, these upgrades were necessary for the iPad to compete with its closest rivals like Motorola and Samsung.

"iPad's global tablet market share is 63% and it is estimated that more than 55 million iPads were sold since April 2010 globally. iPad's Middle East market share is estimated to be as high as 86%. Frost & Sullivan believes that new improvements might help Apple to retain its 63 per cent global tablets market share, but in order to stay ahead of the competition, Apple needs capture the market further via innovative and customer friendly solutions."

Andy Castonguay, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media said that support for 4G was the most important strategic addition to the tablet, meaning that US operators AT&T and Verizon, who are keen to drive uptake of 4G networks, will add their marketing support and subsidies to the new iPad, helping Apple to maintain sales.

"Apple's much hyped new 3rd generation iPad is well positioned to maintain the company's dominant market leadership among tablet manufacturers. Apple's addition of LTE connectivity, a superb new HD display, and faster processing power on top of its market leading applications offering and fervent user base will maintain Apple's status as the primary standard bearer in the tablet ecosystem,"he said.

Market watchers are also predicting that while Apple is dominant in the tablet market, competition is hotting up with Android-based devices and Windows.

"As tablets are increasingly being used for personal media consumption, it is promising to see a better screen resolution," said Fred Huet, managing director of Greenwich Consulting. "But will this be enough to ensure Apple's competitive lead in the marketplace? No."

Adam Leach, principal analyst of Ovum, commented before the launch that Apple is likely to remain dominant in the segment it created through 2012, but that competition was becoming more of a threat.

"High on the list of challengers will be Google and Microsoft; both companies hoping to break into the growing tablet market by providing hardware manufacturers with the software platforms and developer ecosystems that will allow them to compete directly with Apple's iOS. Google has finally bridged the smartphone and tablet divide with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), offering developers a unified platform for the two types of device. This should increase the number of tablet optimized applications, which were notably absent from Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). In addition, Microsoft is set to launch Windows 8 this year, targeting tablet devices with its Metro UI and build specifically for ARM-based chipsets. Microsoft's introduction of Windows 8 on ARM and its shift away from Intel for tablets will drastically increase the company's ability to compete on price point and user experience with Apple.

"However, it will take time for Android 4.0 and Windows 8 based products to come to market, and with an expected launch of the next iteration of iPad, Apple will retain its market leading position through 2012."

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