IDC’s latest press release regarding worldwide tablet shipments is a telling document which doesn’t tell me as much as I want to know.
Except for Apple, IDC doesn’t list tablet sales. It lists shipments. Those shipment numbers are unofficial, because only Apple reveals how many tablets have been shipped, uh, rather, sold vs. shipped. And, except for Apple’s iPad sales, which are publicly available, all other tablet shipments are estimates, not actual sales numbers.
As you would expect, Apple came out on top in the past quarter with just under a 45-percent market share while Samsung, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others fight for second place. Google and Microsoft tablets don’t warrant much more than side-by-side lumps in the Others category.
Here’s what disturbs me about such data. It’s not factual. It’s a guess, an estimate. Apple may have about 50-percent of the total tablet installed base, yes, but that means for every iPad you see in the wild, you’ll also see a competing tablet, right?
That’s not the case.
Apple’s iPad competitors are almost nowhere to be seen. If they make up half the market, where are they?
My view is simple. They’re gathering dust while their owners lick the wounds of an irritating purchase, while salivating over their friend’s iPads.
Usability is a bitch, and all the numbers, actual numbers, not estimates, say the same thing. iPhone and iPad users actually use their devices far more than competing products. Smart phone competitors to the iPhone use the phone, presumably, but don’t seem to browse much, don’t use third party apps much, don’t spend much money on apps, and often can’t wait until their cell phone contract ends so they can buy an iPhone.
The iPad usage is similar. Users use the web, use email, download apps and games in horrific numbers, especially when compared to brands from Samsung, Amazon, et al.
I think it’s a fair question to ask. What do all those non-iPad tablet owners actually do with their tablets?
The answer is simple. Not much.