Report suggests iPad will hold 61 percent of tab market this year

by Phil Hornshaw

Projections suggest that while alternative mobile tablets are picking up steam in the market, Apple’s iPad will continue to dominate into 2012.

The information comes from an analysis by DigiTimes, which believes Apple will ship 40 million of its devices by the end of the year, giving it about 61 percent of the market. DigiTimes says there will be about 65.1 million tabs shipped in total this year.

Here’s a quote from Next Web’s story about the analysis, which demonstrates how insane the growth of the tablet market has been:

In the first six months of 2011, tablet shipments increased more than 420% from the previous year, with sales expected to increase into the second half to boost the number of shipments by 150% from a year earlier. Apple is expected to contribute more than 25.5 million iPad shipments in the second half of the year alone, up 76% compared to the first half of the year.

That growth has been spurred by lots of new Android tablets hitting the market, many of them finally coming to grips with competing with the iPad, like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. But the iPad 2 remains the top of the game, largely because of its insane number of apps – 90,000 optimized specifically for the iPad – with thousands more iPhone apps compatible with the device.

But Apple’s market share won’t stay huge forever, DigiTimes expects, especially with other device makers finding ways to cater to the market in new and different ways: providing different screen and device sizes, other capabilities that the iPad doesn’t offer (like SD slots in the Motorola Xoom), and differing price points. The iPad 2’s lowest price is currently $499. Non-Apple device makers are expected to ship more than 15.65 million tablets in the second half of 2011, about a 65 percent increase over the first half of the year.

DigiTimes expects Android tablets to mirror smartphones and take on about 30 percent of the tablet market through sheer volume. There are a lot more devices and a lot more cellular carriers for Android stuff than for Apple stuff, after all. But it’s not necessarily that Apple’s sales are shrinking as Android bites into them, but more that the tablet market continues to expand, allowing both Android and iOS to keep increasing sales.

And if Apple’s last quarterly earnings report was any indication, it doesn’t have a whole lot to worry about. Apple posted record revenues in Q3 2011 and with rumors of another iPad potentially coming out this fall, it seems that it’s the competition, not Apple, that has something to worry about.