Info-tech

Tablet wars: Apple, Microsoft, Nokia in same-day clash

DPA San Francisco | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on October 22, 2013

The Apple fan boys will no doubt greet Apple’s expected announcement of a new line of iPads on Tuesday as a momentous occasion in tech history.

Barring an unexpected announcement from Apple chief executive Tim Cook, the most telling development of the day may be the fact that both Microsoft and Nokia are set to launch their own tablets on the same day.

The competing events vying for the eyes and dollars of holiday gadget buyers underline the ferocity of the competition that Apple is facing in a genre it invented almost single-handedly just three years ago.

Google, Apple’s main rival, has been on a tear lately, announcing quarterly results last week that sent the stock above $1,000 a share for the first time.

Investors clearly believe that Google is better placed to capitalise on the current market. Its stock is up 40 per cent on the year, while Apple is down 7 per cent.

If published reports are correct, Apple will try to rejuvenate its position with the biggest update in iPad design since the original model came out in 2010.

The company has sold $ 26 billion worth of iPads since then, but is facing increasing difficulty keeping the competition at bay.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple sold fewer iPads in the three months ended in June than the same period a year earlier, the first time that had happened since the device appeared in 2010.

The iPad 5 will be thinner and lighter than the iPad 4, and will feature a thinner bezel around the screen. It will boast the same colours and A7 processor as the recently released iPhone 5S, and is likely to feature the same fingerprint sensor on its home button, according to analysts. The iPad mini currently outsells the regular iPad by two-to-one and is still the world’s best-selling tablet, so changes to it are expected to be less sweeping.

Prior to the update, research firm Gartner predicted that Apple’s share of the tablet market will fall below 50 per cent this year for the first time. The iPad is challenged on size and quality by the likes of Samsung, Sony and Acer and on price by the Amazon Kindle, which sells for more than $100 less than similar iPad models.

In Asia the challenge is just as strong, but more often comes from smaller brands that produce inexpensive tablets that run Google’s Android operating system.

Microsoft’s new Surface tablets and Nokia’s Lumia, both run on Windows 8.1 and are unlikely to prove much of a challenge in the short term. But their ability to run the Windows programmes that are still standard in many businesses could give them a big advantage in the future.

With Apple facing increasing challenges on the iPhone front, many are hoping that Cook will surprise his audience with an unexpected product that will create a new and lucrative market.

“We’d love to see Tim Cook casually stroll on stage wearing an Apple iWatch,” Mashable.com’s Samantha Murphy-Kelly wrote.

There’s little expectation that Cook will actually do that, or spring another surprise like a new Apple TV. But if he does, Apple fans and investors will truly have something to crow about.

Published on October 22, 2013

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