Skip to comments.How is Microsoft's Surface Pro bucking the downward tablet trend?
Posted on 12/01/2014 7:42:54 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Tablet sales worldwide are starting to slow down, according to the latest figures from IDC, and it seems the cooling market is having a particularly chilling effect on Apple.
All in all, the analyst house has predicted growth for this year will be just 7.2% for the whole tablet market, compared to over 50% in 2013.
The figures make particularly grim reading for Apple, which has actually seen a 12.7% decline in sales compared to last year.
At 16% growth, IDC's end-of-year predictions look a little brighter for Android, but the real stand out story is Windows.
Sales of Microsoft's Surface tablets have surged 67.3% from 2013, with its market share increasing from 0.9% in 2012 to an expected 4.6% this year, equating to 10.9 million units sold.
Of course, this still puts Windows tablets firmly in third position, however IDC has also predicted Microsoft could treble its current shipment volumes by 2018, hitting 32.6 million units and raising its market share to 11.4%.
By comparison, Android's tablet market share is predicted to fall from 67.7% today to 64% over the same period, while iOS will decline from 27.5% to 24.5%.
IDC is also up-beat about the continuing growth of Surface, and other Windows OS tablet, sales through to 2018. While overall year-on-year growth is anticipated to fall to just 3.8% in 2018, for Windows devices it'll be more in the region of 17.9%.
Was Tim Cook right?
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook pinned a 9% drop in the sales of iPads during Q3 2014 on existing owners being simply too happy with their current tablet to go out and buy a new one.
There was some scoffing at this claim when Cook originally made it, but Ryan Reith, a mobile device analyst with IDC, has indicated Cook may have been right.
"In the early stages of the tablet market, device lifecycles were expected to resemble those of smartphones, with replacement occurring every 2-3 years," said Reith.
"What has played out instead is that many tabled owners are holding onto their devices for more than 3 years and in some instances more than 4 years," he explained.
Reith added that, particularly with iOS devices, legacy software support for older devices had been a major driver for people hanging on to older tablets.
IDC predicts that larger screens, increasing numbers of cellular-enabled tablets, Google's next move with Android and Chrome OS, the possibility of an iPad Pro and how the industry reacts toWindows 10 are all major events that could shake up the tablet market in 2015.
"The next six months should be really interesting," Reith concluded.
However, when my gen 3 iPad becomes Obama-like (e.g., unreliable and stupid), I’ll replace it with another iPad.
FWIW, the Surface can actually function (more or less) as an actual part of an Active Directory domain. It’s essentially an actual PC, rather than a tablet, and can run the gamut of actual Microsoft software, including the Office suite (right up to Project), Outlook integrated with Exchange, and many many other tools that only run on “real” computers, as opposed to the more restrictive ecosystems of Android and Apple.
So the Surface is probably doing well because real businesses can safely buy it, just like Windows does so well because businesses can safely buy it.
My brother in law showed his Surface to me over Tday weekend. I was really impressed with it. Now my wife wants one because the keyboard works well and Windows 8 is a good tablet OS.
M$ and companies using Google’s Android seem to be doing well; but their business model is predicated on volume production of cheap units. Much of the world cannot afford AAPL iPads, while the others tablets are in their price range.
The problem arises for M$ and companies using Google’s Android when looking at the bottom line - their isn’t much. Which bodes poorly for them in the long run.
I think those charts may reflect units shipped, not necessarily units sold to customers (real people) - I could be wrong.
I have some experience with this. There is some truth to what you say, but you have to keep in mind that the Surface Pro is an actual PC, while the Surface RT is not, and the latter is very limited as to software availability/functionality (e.g., it cannot use a Cisco remote access VPN, which is built into the iPad).
Also, the wifi drivers for the Surface Pro are buggy and limited in their customizability.
Apple is on the decline. Since this latest iOS update, my iPad air has been giving me nothing but trouble. Safari now gets slower and slower the more it’s used until I am forced to restart it.
And comparing the Surface Pro to an iPad or Android tablet isn’t really a fair comparison. The Surface Pro is not just a tablet. It is a full fledged computer similar in power to the MacBook Air. When my current laptop is up for replacement,i will be replacing it with a surface pro.
I inherited my wife’s first generation I-pad. While it still works without problems, I am frustrated that many apps I would love to get are no longer available for this oldest operating system. The I-pad can no longer be upgraded to new operating systems so I am stuck with only a few apps in basically an obsolete machine.
Love my new Surface Pro 3! Can use as a table to read and annotate pdfs, bring it to the classroom, and use it as a powerful little PC.
RE: Love my new Surface Pro 3! Can use as a table to read and annotate pdfs, bring it to the classroom, and use it as a powerful little PC.
What’s the price for all that?
Had one user bring in his (early version, non-pro) Surface in the hopes of joining our corporate domain - he returned it and bought an iPad.
There are many occasions I could use a native Windows desktop when I am not at my desk.
I had the same problem with my ipad air. It was totally freezing and I was having to reboot so I took it in. They did a software update on it. Instead of freezing it started what I call getting ‘stuck’. I’d have to shut down safari and reopen it to unstick it. Took it in Saturday and they exchanged it. Said it was ‘bad’.
That was my take too. The functionality of the Surface has convinced the business/office market to start using tablets. The thing is, to get one that is fully decked out is just as or more expansive than a laptop.
at 1400 dollars it is not at the sweet spot yet.
It is also hard to tell if the third party surface tablets are pro 3 or pro 2
They’ve done a really good job positioning it as “almost a laptop”, helps it avoid the softening of the tablet market.
I have been patiently waiting (still waiting) for the tablet laptop.
Much rather have a windows based tablet/laptop than a “met too” windows imitation.
Yes, you are on mark with your commentary but it is also an ‘awesome’ device meaning people are attracted to its table in electronic stores for longer periods of time than iOS or Android devices, and that attraction ends up forming a line or a moving backdrop of people who keep coming back to see if they can squeeze in.
Nokia smartphones which Microsoft now owns are also ‘awesome’ and their camera capabilities are show-stoppers. Nothing even comes close to their dazzling features and capabilities.
And all the devices and computers sync up quickly and effortlessly.
My 8-year old could not get enough of the Surface Pro 3 stylus. I have never thought in my life to think of using a stylus until I saw the Surface Pro 3 stylus. It is amazing in the sense that it can do things on the Surface Pro 3 touchscreen that are actually of great utility to users as well as graphics artists. The Surface Pro 3 is a winner, no doubt about it.
And I have bothered to peek ahead and see what’s coming. Windows 10 is going to be a sure winner as well. The new CEO of Microsoft has his head screwed on right and the whole company is now functioning to give the user a pleasant and great experience without new shocks to their existing habits. They really have turned a corner.
I’ve seen them, and they are not cheap, but seem to be pretty well made and have good specs.
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