Every since its evolutionary release on April 3, 2010, iPads have come to dominate the tablet market. The idea of a bigger device similar to an iPhone but having the power capabilities of a laptop pleased many people. In addition, devices such as the Apple pencil helped make the iPad stand out compared to a laptop, as it had the same functionality as a notepad and pencil with a lot more applications.
However, there are multiple other tablet devices that have the same functionality as an iPad but come from a different company. These range from Samsung’s Galaxy to Amazon’s modest Fire 7. While these devices have also shared popular reception from users, it usually was not on the same scale as Apple. For instance, in the first quarter of 2022, Samsung shipped just 8.1 million units of tablets while Apple was able to ship 12.1 million. What makes Apple iPads so different from the rest of the tablet competition? And what are other tablet companies doing about it?
What Makes Apple iPads so different from the rest of the Tablet Competition?
There are many different factors that make Apple iPads different from the rest of the tablet competition and are the reason why Apple is dominating the tablet industry.
- Keeping it simple: Apple only has four different iPad models, which are supposed to appeal to a variety of users. It has the iPad Pro, which is meant for power users who are willing to pay a decent price. It has the iPad Air, a device that shares many of the common features of the pro for less tech-savvy users for less a price. It has the iPad, a budget-friendly option that does not miss out on most of the core features that makes an iPad. Finally, it has the iPad mini, a device meant for those who want a compact device that still has the functionality of a normal iPad. In contrast, many other companies have numerous tablet models, which makes it confusing and convoluted for users to decide what actually sets apart a device from another. This confusion can lead users to prefer Apple, which is a lot simpler and clear as to which device is being marketed for which specific user.
- Advanced hardware: For the iPad Pro and the iPad air, they both usually contain the same chip. As of 2022, both contain the M1 chip. Compare that to the Samsung Exynos 990, a similar processor that was released in the same year, and there is a noticeable difference in performance in all aspects. This increase in chip performance greatly improves the user experience for the iPad. They are more easily able to run applications and other tasks on their iPad without facing any difficulty, resulting in a pleasant experience and a greater chance for them to continue using an iPad model in the future.
- Accessories and Apple’s Ecosystem as a whole: The iPad contains many other accessories such as the Apple Pencil, which greatly enhances the user experience in the device. In contrast, other tablet devices do not have accessories similar to an apple pencil, which makes the user experience ultimately worse. If other companies did indeed catch up to an accessory similar to an apple pencil, they did it too late. For instance, Samsung’s tablet S Pen lacked behind the Apple Pencil until the S Pen was updated with the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+. In addition to accessories, Apple’s ecosystem makes the iPad a lucrative device paired with other Apple devices. If a user has an apple device such as an iPhone, it can easily pair with an iPad device by being able to easily share files and data through iCloud. In addition, an iPhone can share messages with an iPad. These two features apply to almost all sets of Apple devices, from laptops to desktops. Ultimately, if a person has another Apple device they are more prone to get an iPad as a tablet as it comes with additional features due to Apple’s Ecosystem.
What are other tablet companies doing to close the gap? Is Apple still leading?
While Apple certainly has a head start in some regards, companies are taking measures to make sure that they get ahead in the competition. Here is a list of things that other tablet companies are doing right, or strive to do right in the future.
- Pricing: Apple is notorious for making their devices more expensive and unaffordable for many of its customers. While Apple does have devices such as the iPad Pro and the iPad Air, that still does not compare to other tablet devices such as the Amazon Fire 7, which costs an affordable 49 dollars. Compare that to Apple’s lowest price for an iPad, which is $329 (base model) and that is a huge difference. The iPad is almost 7x the price of the Amazon Fire 7! Ultimately, this is one example to illustrate how while Apple might be a preferable option for customers that have a decent amount of money laying around, Apple fails to attract customers who are on an extremely tight budget.
- Cameras: While one might not need such an advanced camera system for a big device like an iPad, it is certainly helpful at times. The gap between the iPad’s camera technology and other companies camera technology can be seen in some tablet devices like Samsung, which have an additional camera (this ranges depending on the iPad model and for the sake of comparison this is based off of similar price ranges between devices).
- Battery: Companies like Samsung have improved their battery capacity, allowing for longer screen life before the device dies. For instance, the iPad pro has a 10,307 mAh battery, while the Galaxy Tab S8 has a 11,200 mAh battery. This lead can be the difference for an additional hour of screen time, which can have a huge impact on a users productivity and preference for a device.
- Accesories: Before Apple leaded in terms of accessories with devices such as the Apple Pencil, taking the traditional paper and pencil to the next level. However, as time have progressed new advances such as the S Pen have come which rival the Apple Pencil in functionality and price. In addition, other companies who do not sell iPads such as Logitech have developed devices such as the Logitech Crayon which can be used in a variety of devices.
In conclusion, the answer to the question that Apple is still dominating the tablet industry is a mixed maybe. While the iPad is certainly has a lot of features that set it apart and allow it to grow on a large amount of consumers, other companies such as Samsung and Amazon have an edge on Apple in other aspects such as functionality and price. Ultimately, it depends on the user’s preference and no one tablet will be perfect for a user. Price, Functionality, Accessories, Battery, and Design are all factors that play a huge role for a customer and can be the difference between choosing a budget Amazon Fire 7 to a tech-savy iPad Pro. It will be exciting to see in the future how companies adapt to their weakness and change up their tablet features to get ahead of the competition.