December 27, 2012

iPads At Christmas

If you live in a typical home in a first world nation such as the UK or US, it’s entirely likely you or someone you know received a brand new tablet for Christmas this year. Tablets were a hot item for Santa, and for the first time since the iPad debuted, there was more than one clear competitor to Apple’s best selling iPad.

(Anecdotally, my family had a 2 iPad Christmas this year, while another friend of mine had a 4 iPad Christmas. In his case, everyone in the family had gifted one another iPads without anyone’s knowledge. There was something suspicious about the identically sized boxes, but no one knew for sure.)

Competitors like Amazon, Google and even Microsoft had released a tablet this year, and most of these offer some great alternatives to the long-time leader. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD offers great functionality at a much lower price, while Google’s Nexus 7 and 10 tablets offer Android Die-Hards the best in Google OS experience. Microsoft’s surface has received mix reviews thus far.

So, while these companies worked their holly berries off to finally deliver a worthy iPad competitor, there’s some small (but not inconsequential) evidence that the People’s Choice of tablets this year remained the iPad by no small margin.

One analyst, a William Power from R.W. Baird, placed some calls to the larger retailers, the Best Buys and the Staples of the world to measure the interest of the main tablet competitors. His conclusion: the iPad and Kindle Fire were on top, while the Microsoft Surface was relatively unknown.

Power spoke with sales reps at Best Buy and asked them to recommend the best tablet. The majority of these reps had plenty to say about the iPad with the Kindle Fire and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab noted as suitable alternatives. These reps became hesitant when asked about the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, however. According to Power, no rep at any Best Buy store he visited recommended the Surface with Windows RT over other tablets.  Microsoft has only recently begun selling their new tablet outside of their online and brick-and-mortar locations, however.

The news was just as bad for Microsoft at Staples locations, and though they don’t carry the Amazon Kindle Fire or the Apple iPad, they could confirm that sales of the Surface with Windows RT have been “Modest.”

In another telling assignment, one Twitter user decided to use social networking to measure which tablets had been gifted at Christmas and found some unsurprising results.

Operating under the name A. X. Ian, this user decided to use popular Twitter client Tweetbot to search the micro-blogging service for Tweets which began with “My first Tweet from…”

As one may expect, Apple’s iPad trounced the competition, with 1,795 Tweets from brand new iPads sent during a 24-hour period around Christmas Eve.

Based on this pool of data, no other tablet even came close. The Amazon Kindle Fire came in second place with a meager 200 tweets, the Google Nexus in third with 100 tweets and, backing up Power’s data, only 36 people felt like bragging after receiving their Surface with Windows RT as a gift.

Though its a good thing other companies are finally catching up to the success Apple has had with their iPad offerings, it’s likely they still have a way to go if any of them are to finally “kill” the iPad.

Parenthetically, this entire article was written on my new, holiday iPad. Happy New Year, everyone.

Image Credit: robert_s / Shutterstock

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Email