The iPad, a pioneer device in the tablet market, was introduced to the consumer market in 2010. The device was aimed at filling a gap between smartphones and laptop computers, offering another mobile device option for consumers. The iPad is closely related to Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, as it uses the same operating system and multi-touch user interface. Since its introduction in 2010, Apple has released six versions of the iPad, and has sold more than 350 million units worldwide. In 2016 alone, Apple sold more than 40 million iPads, generating 19.1 billion U.S. dollars in revenues. Sales of the iPad, in that particular year, accounted for about nine percent of Apple’s total global revenue.
After the introduction of the iPad, competitors rushed into the market with their own tablets, and Apple saw its global market share decrease from about 60 percent in the beginning of 2011 to around 25 percent by the end 2016. Apple continues to be the leading tablet vendor in the world though, with Samsung as its closest competitor.
Even though Apple is still the leading tablet vendor, the company no longer has the most popular operating system for tablets. Apple’s iOS market share dropped from about 34 percent in 2013 to 24 percent in 2016, while Android slowly gained market presence. Google’s Android accounted for 67 percent of all global tablet shipments in the beginning of 2016. The figures for the coming years show a similar trend for the tablet OS market with Apple’s iOS share of tablet shipments to drop to 23 percent by 2020. Google’s Android is forecast to hold about 60 percent of the share by that year. Windows’ operating system is projected to account for around 20 percent of the market by 2020.
Apple offers one million native iPad apps. Native apps only run on iPad’s operating system, therefore, they must be downloaded from the iTunes App Store. Game is the most popular app category amongst iPad users, followed by entertainment and education.
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