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2014 Could be a Rocky Road for Apple's iPad Market Share

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According to industry insiders, Samsung Electronics has begun to check the supply chain management for materials and parts to ship over 100 million tablet PCs next year. We noted last month that Samsung had shipped 9.7 million tablets in Q3, up 123% year-over-year. We also noted that Samsung was hell bent on flooding the market with tablets so as to overtake Apple who's Q3 year-over-year stats were only up an anemic 0.6%.


Samsung's goal of flooding the market with 100 million tablets for 2014 would mark a 150% increase over 2013. A large portion of Samsung's potential growth could come from the education segment. A Korean securities analyst noted that "The tablet PC will greatly grow not only in the general consumer market, but also in the B2G market, e.g. electronic textbooks."


Last week Patent Bolt reported on a new patent pending invention from Google relating to a new education market reader module that will support Samsung's push into this segment next year with a 12. 2" tablet.


Last week Businessweek reported that sub-$100 tablets would flood the market in 2014 due to manufacturers like Datawind who will introduce a $40 7" tablet that has the power of the original iPad.


During Apple's October Special Event, Cook stated that "Now everybody seems to be making a tablet, even some of the doubters are now making them. But regardless of what you might hear or read about how many are bought or sold or activated, iPad is used more than any of the rest. And not just a little more, a lot more. iPad is used more than four times more than all of those other tablets put together."


Cook's statement was to counter the new stats he knew were coming for the quarter in that Android based tablets surpassed the iPad. And the argument that Apple has all the profits is now history. According to a new Morgan Stanley research note from Katy Huberty, the Google operating system-powered tablets have also stolen a march over Apple tablets in revenue.


It appears that Apple may be on the road back to being the "little niche that could" as Wall Street continues to worship at the altar of market share. Yet let's be honest. Apple loved to use stats when they were on their side and Cook continues to present stats to sell Apple to developers. But like any business, if you live by the sword (stats), you also die by the sword (stats) and you really can't have it both ways, no matter how you spin it. Without a doubt, 2014 is going to be another challenging year for Apple's iPad.


Yet in the short term, Apple is likely to break more records in iPad sales in Q4 with great updates like the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina. In terms of sheer quality, nothing yet touches Apple's iPad products.


And on the educational front, don't count Apple out just yet either. We reported back in May of this year, well ahead of the more recent rumors and news out of Samsung that Apple was working on a larger iPad for education for next year.


So regardless of how the press is painting the tablet market for 2014, Apple is still going to take a leading role in shaping the future of tablets beyond just making them cheaper.


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Marketshare Perspective

Analyst Agrees with Tim Cook on Growing Imbalance between Shipments and Usage Measurements in the Tablet World





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