Where's the Tablet Market Headed After the iPad?
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Apple's iPad may be a game changer, but it's not the last word on the tablet market. Hardware Central takes a look at a new research forecast that projects eye-popping growth for the fledgling tablet market.
A pundit once described Apple CEO Steve Jobs as having an uncanny knack for spotting a parade and jumping out in front to lead it. That was certainly the case with smartphones, where Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has established itself as a leader among a "parade" of other established players.
Could the same thing happen in tablets?
Whether Apple will ultimately lead the field is far from clear, but a "Media Tablets" report released today by ABI Research makes the case that Apple is going a long way towards defining a fast-growing market with the recent unveiling of its iPad tablet.
"Apple's iPad is not the first media tablet," ABI analyst Jeff Orr said in a statement. "But it does help define this new device category. The main focus of media tablets is entertainment. A tablet will not replace a laptop, netbook, or mobile phone, but will remain an additional premium or luxury product for wealthy industrialized markets for at least several years."
The research firm defines media tablets as having features that include a touch-screen interface, between five and 11 inches in size, with Wi-Fi Internet connectivity and video and gaming capabilities. This year, ABI expects 4 million of these media tablets to ship from Apple and others. But it also expects the market to grow pretty quickly, growing to 57 million units in 2015.