Without question, the market for seven inch tablets has exploded since the beginning of the year. This has a lot to do with the arrival of the original Kindle Fire, by Amazon. Prior to the Fire, Samsung’s original Galaxy Tab was one of the first seven inch tablets, but it didn’t enjoy the success like that of the Kindle Fire, mainly due to its price point. But regardless, were are now in a time and place where larger tablets, mainly the iPad, continue to sell well and now so do the smaller options, like the Kindle Fire HD, Google’s Nexus 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.
While Amazon and Google have both enjoyed some success, with Amazon even snagging about 20% of the tablet marketshare, the leader has still remained the iPad which features a larger 9.7 inch display. Despite the iPad’s massive lead, both Amazon and Google have remained untouched in their specific market, but that will all come to end when Apple reveals their new, smaller iPad, currently dubbed, the iPad Mini. Apple, who created this new tablet market two years ago, is now entering the smaller tablet market with a 7.85-inch iPad and if analysts predictions are right, it could disrupt the whole market. Amazon, who will be releasing an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet on November 20th, may get upstaged when the iPad Mini hits in early November, especially if it’s at a price point that may not be much higher. Google may be hit even harder, as their tablet is harder to find in brick and mortar stores and it’s not exactly featured online anywhere, other than the Google Play Store. Rumors right now peg Apple as having ordered parts for up to 10 million iPad Minis, which may not even be enough to satisfy demand during the Holiday shopping months.
But there is a bigger issue that Amazon, Google and several other OEMs need worry about, developers and their apps. Even with Google’s Android OS having the largest marketshare, the Apple App Store is still the strongest and most robust mobile app store in the market. While Apple my not have over 50% of the market in terms of their OS, they have a massive amount of phones and tablets sold and they are easier to develop for and developers tend to make more money on them, then on any other platform. When you toss in a new device like the iPad Mini, which is rumored to sell around 10 million units and won’t require much effort on the developer’s end to make their apps compatible, you’re looking at another steady cash cow for Apple and developers. Which leads us to the question, will developers once again re-focus their efforts on another Apple product, knowing that they have the best chance to sell their apps, especially with 10 million new devices expected to be sold? Even if half of those are new customers to Apple, that’s still 5 million new customers who’ll be searching for new and exciting apps to download on day one.
The iPad Mini could be more devastating than both Google and Amazon can imagine, with marketshare aside, it could pull the focus of hundreds to thousands of developers away from their platforms and onto Apple’s latest and greatest, further extending their lead when it comes to not only the quantity of their apps, but the quality too. The iPad and iPhone are already known for having a larger app ecosystem, with apps appearing there first and some times exclusively, now with a more cost friendly iPad on the way, Apple may have just cemented its lead.