April 12, 2011 at 2:37 PM ET
Fanboys are about to get even more smug than they already are. A research firm predicts that the success of the iPad and iPad 2 and its successors will keep Apple on top of the tablet computer market through at least 2015.
In explaining the dominance Apple has in this field, Gartner analysts said, "Apple iPad did to the tablet PC market what the iPhone did to the smartphone market: re-invented it."
The recently released Gartner report states that Apple's iOS will account for 69 percent of media tablet operating systems in 2011, and 47 percent of the media tablet market in 2015.
Copy cats trying to ride on the wake of the iPad success will face an uphill battle, analysts added.
"Seeing the response from both consumers and enterprises to the iPad, many vendors are trying to compete by first delivering on hardware and then trying to leverage the platform ecosystem," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. "Many, however, are making the same mistake that was made in the first response wave to the iPhone, as they are prioritizing hardware features over applications, services and overall user experience. Tablets will be much more dependent on the latter than smartphones have been, and the sooner vendors realize that the better chance they have to compete head-to-head with Apple."
And what about Android, which has already topped the smartphone OSs?
Gartner forecasts the tablet-based Android OS will carry over some of that smartphone clout, with the 20 percent share it has in worldwide shares of the media tablet market this year to a peak of 39 percent in 2015, still almost 10 percentage points behind Apple. The Gartner analysts said that with Google's recent decision to not immediately release its tablet-only Honeycomb — in efforts to control the fragmentation in its smartphones and other devices — this will "slow the price decline and ultimately cap market share."
The Research in Motion tablet OS, QNX, also makes a dent with the introduction of the BlackBerry PlayBook, but it's still going to take awhile for it to catch up with Apple or Android. Same goes for tablets running the MeeGo and WebOS platforms.
"Smartphone users will want to buy a tablet that runs the same operating system as their smartphone. This is so that they can share applications across devices as well as for the sense of familiarity the user interfaces will bring," Ms. Milanesi said. "Vendors developing on Android should be prepared to see more cross brand ownership as some users might put OS over brand when it comes to the purchasing decision. Improvements on usability and brand recognition are the strongest differentiators they can focus on."
More tablet stories: