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To beat Apple, tablet rivals must challenge iTunes and the App Store, not the iPad

19 Jul 2012

V3 reporter Shaun NicholsCompetition in the tablet space has heated up in a big way this year.

As consumers continue to purchase the devices in droves, vendors have been rushing to develop and introduce their own tablets. Meanwhile platform developers have been looking to win over vendors and consumers alike by introducing new interfaces and features for their tablet operating systems.

Despite the heightened competition, however, one company is still head and shoulders above all others when it comes to tablets. Since the day it was released to the market, Apple's iPad has been the unquestioned king of the tablet space, dramatically outselling rivals and winning over developers.

That rival vendors have yet to pose any serious threat to the iPad is not for lack of trying. Heavyweights including RIM, Motorola and Asus have launched their own respective 'iPad killers' and have failed to pose any serious challenge.

It's also not for lack of innovation. Countless hours have been poured into optimising and fine-tuning Android into a solid tablet platform. Microsoft put the brunt of its massive developer resources behind making Windows 8 a great tablet platform, with the backing of a robust desktop operating system.

It's also not a matter of hardware features. Any number of Android tablets can match the relatively modest hardware specifications of the iPad. Microsoft's pair of Surface tablets boast hardware specifications that may not even be matched by the next version of the iPad.

Why then, with so many seemingly solid devices already on the market and even more promising models on the way, do experts think Apple will continue to dominate the tablet space for the foreseeable future?

It's all about the ecosystem.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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