The Apple iPad may be viewed by some as an expensive toy rather than an essential work tool but this hasn’t stopped the expectation that Apple will dominate the tablet market pretty much unchallenged for the next few years.

This is according to two separate research studies into the tablet market and the iPad.

Analysts at Gartner have conducted research into the tablet market and published a report that shows the Apple iPad will continue to outsell its rivals hands-down. And a Citigroup study has highlighted the reasons people select the iPad are largely flippant.

During 2011, the iPad is forecast to account for 73.4 percent of worldwide media tablet sales.

Although this is down slightly on Apple’s 83 percent market share in 2010, it compares incredibly favourably to other operating systems – Android is nearest with just a 17.3 percent market share projected, while the other platforms will likely have less than a 5 percent share in 2011.

It is also not thought likely that Apple will step aside as champion of the tablet world anytime soon, and Gartner predicts a 50+ percent share for the next three years.

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner said: “We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014.

“This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal.

“Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen. This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models that offer storage and connectivity options.”

Total worldwide tablet sales are expected to reach 63.6million units this year, an incredible 261.4 percent increase from last year.

iPad sales are thought to reach more than 46.5million units in 2011, compared to Android tablets which are expected to hit 11million unit sales and RIM’s QNX platform 3million.

While sales of the iPad continue to increase, the other recent research study has shed some light on why people buy the Apple tablet – the majority of us view the iPad as a “cool toy”, a gadget for leisure rather than work.

Citigroup surveyed 1800 clients in the US, UK and China. Only 15 percent use the iPad for work or productivity tasks whereas 67 percent use the tablet to browse online and 55 percent for emailing or instant messaging.

And when it comes to reasons for buying the device, 62 percent state they plan to buy the gadget because they want a new “cool toy”, up on last year when this reason received 42 percent of the votes.

Eighteen percent said they plan to buy the iPad for work, 12 percent to replace a netbook or laptop and just 9 percent to replace their desktop.


Author bio:

Caitlin Barker is a freelance writer and tech journalist. She writes articles covering a wide range of technology and internet subjects including how-to guides, reviews and second hand laptops and mobile phones buying advice including new and used iPhones, Blackberry and Android.