In the July-to-September quarter, research firm Strategy Analytics says that Apple controlled a staggering 95 percent of the emerging tablet computer market thanks to explosive out-of-the-gate success from its new iPad product line.
However, the next quarter may be different, and next year will be an entirely different realm. As Dell launches two models of its Streak tablet, and Research in Motion readies its hardware-savvy, enterprise-capable PlayBook, the iPad won't be be able to wrap both hands around the market for long.
The tablet market, akin to eReaders, is new and still growing rapidly, despite a limited range of product choices for consumers. The market grew by nearly a million tablets - from 3.5 to 4.4 million - in just one quarter, and that's without any contributions from major players like Microsoft, Dell, and RIM's Blackberry.
But the iPad starts to pale in comparison to forthcoming devices. Apple's tablet has no cameras or multi-tasking features, whereas the PlayBook for example features high-res cameras on both the front and back, as well as multi-tasking and other business-oriented abilities. It's tradition for Apple to delibertately withhold obviously implementable features, however, and the next gen iPad will likely be well-timed, and juiced up with a slew of new features, so that everybody who bought the first will buy the second.
This method is actually insulting to consumers, but millions of loyalists don't seem to care, and it's this ruthless - but highly effective strategy - that is apt to see Apple hold onto a majority market share for the foreseeable future.
Apple's new Macbook Air product line is inspired by the iPad.