Three Reasons the iPad Will Lead the Tablet Pack for Business | PCWorld Business Center. (No longer available online. Original text included below.)
The iPad seems unstoppable. Pre-orders for the new iPad sold out in less than a week. But it’s not just consumers that are interested, a ChangeWave Research survey shows 84% of businesses prefer the iPad over its competitors. With its current lead in the market, momentum could keep demand high for a number of reasons.
The survey, done in February 2012 before the release of the new iPad, found that one-in-five businesses plan to buy a tablet in Quarter 2 this year. Demand for iPad increased 7% since the last survey done in November of 2011, while all eight competitors in the survey saw a decrease. In an informal PC World survey, of 855 respondents, 72% of those that were likely to buy an iPad would be more likely to purchase the new iPad over iPad 2. This suggests demand for iPad could grow even higher. Here are three reasons why the interest in iPad by businesses should continue to grow.
Being first to market with an app store, Apple discovered the importance of apps to a mobile device ecosystem. The number of apps available for a device is an important factor in choosing a mobile platform, and Apple leads with over 600,000 apps available, and have sold over 25 billion thus far. Developers of business apps are most likely to invest their time in creating apps for the biggest business platform, which the iPad clearly is. Businesses will buy the device that runs the software they need, so as the apps continue to come, so will sales.
In the same way that app developers write for the leading market, hardware developers create products for the popular devices as well. In the consumer market, this can be seen by the number of speaker docking stations that are iPod/iPhone compatible, while very few are available for other platforms. As more iPads find their way into businesses, expect hardware accessories that are specific to iPads to proliferate. From Point-of-Sale stands to bar-code scanners to medical devices, businesses will find it easier to extend the functionality of an iPad than competing devices, and that will drive sales.
There was a saying in the 1970’s, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM”. The implication was that at the time, IBM was a safe bet, a popular choice, and that one couldn’t go wrong by selecting it. The same could now be said about Apple, considering the lead they hold in the tablet market. There is safety in numbers. Where HP’s TouchPad is dead, and survival of RIM’s PlayBook seems in question, there is no doubt the iPad will continue to be around. Businesses want the reassurance that they’ll continue to be supported, and Apple’s currently in the strongest position to provide that.
All of the reasons boil down to numbers. Apple has them, and will fight to hold on to them. Can iPad remain the top tablet forever? The most likely way to compete would be on cost. If competitors could offer similar features but at a significant savings, some businesses would be interested and a market shift could begin. Unfortunately for Apple’s competitors, it has the numbers here as well, paying less for its parts due to the high volume it can promise. Though this makes selecting a tablet easy, stronger competition would likely provide better options for businesses to select from. How can the iPad’s competition stand out and become noticed by businesses?