Tablet sales are expected to grow from 121 million units in
2012 to 416 million units in 2017. This news, which comes from an
NPD DisplaySearch report
, coincides with expectations that sales of Apple's (NASDAQ:
) leading tablet, the iPad, will
continue to rise
. The iPad is expected to
maintain its dominance
within the tablet market even though it
lacks one popular feature
Apple will receive some new competition this month when Google
) releases its first branded tablet, the Nexus 7. Referred to as
, the Nexus 7 helped Google
humiliate the competition
during its press event last month.
) is expected to draw attention away from the laptop market when
Surface, the company's first tablet, is released. Designed for
business and consumer users, Surface may be the first tablet that
can compete with the iPad in terms of features and functionality.
Regardless, some critics fear the device -- which could cost
as much as $800
just another Zune
. One analyst even went as far as to say that Microsoft should
give it away for free
Despite the release of new tablets from the tech industry's
most prominent players, Apple is
expected to lead the market. With a starting price of $499, the
iPad is one of Apple's most profitable devices.
By growing the tablet market, however, Apple has shifted
consumer preference from notebooks to tablets. Thus, Apple may
inadvertently cannibalize MacBook Air and MacBook Pro sales.
Over the next five years, notebook sales are expected to rise
at a slower pace than tablets, growing from 208 million units in
2012 to 393 million units in 2017.
As long as consumers are buying Apple products, Apple wins.
But while MacBooks range in price from $999 to $2,799, iPads are
considerably cheaper. The least expensive third-generation iPad
sells for $499; the most expensive model (which features Wi-Fi,
4G LTE and 64GB of memory) retails for $829. Consequently,
Apple's revenue could decline if the iPad cuts into sales of the
(c) 2012 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.