IDC Bets on iPad 3 with Optimistic Forecast for 2012 Tablet Market

Media tablet leader Apple Inc. to maintain dominance through next year

The IDC's Personal Computing Group is reporting that media tablet shipments in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) reached close to 4.4 million units in Q2 2011, which beat the firm’s previous forecast of 3.7 million. The iPad, as you may have already guessed, has played a key role in this development.

Representing an increase of 394% compared with the same quarter last year and up 82%, Q2 followed a softer-than-expected first quarter where consumers exhibited a "wait-and-see" approach as Apple was rumored to launch the iPad 2.

The imminent release of Apple’s second-generation tablet at the end of the quarter, coupled with the delayed release of Google’s Android Honeycomb OS closed a rather Q1 for tech analysts.

That changed completely in Q2 which, according to IDC, “showed renewed buoyancy in the market.”

Driven primarily by soaring demand for the iPad 2, the quarter exhibited trends that were much stronger than expected.

The array of new tablet models running Android Honeycomb “further contributed to tablet momentum,” IDC said. However, it was Apple’s iPad that made it all happen.

“Apple has clearly maintained dominance across the region and outperformed expectations, thanks to robust demand for the new iPad 2,” IDC analysts wrote today.

Talking more broadly about the Apple tablet computers, IDC said: “The user interface, instantaneous access to the Internet, large number of applications, product design, and strength of the Apple brand remained among the key drivers behind the continued buoyancy and demand for the iPad.”

Eszter Morvay, research manager for IDC's Personal Computing Group, expects the EMEA media tablet market to continue to enjoy robust expansion.

The researcher estimates that shipments will reach close to 22 million units, or €9.1 billion in value in 2011.

"The second half of the year will see a further expansion of product availability, which will lead to accelerating competition and more aggressive price points. The Christmas season in particular is expected to be very buoyant with vendors positioning their products as the perfect Christmas gift," added Morvay.

Morvay’s firm remains “very optimistic” regarding the near future for tablets like the Apple iPad and its rivals.

They project that 33 million units will be shipped in 2012. IDC’s forecast for next year relies heavily on a third device from Apple.

According to the research firm, “Sustained momentum around the Apple brand and the expected launch of iPad 3 will help iOS to maintain dominance in 2012.”

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