Apple v Microsoft: Battle of the tabletsOctober 19 - 12pm 636
As Apple and Microsoft prepare to wage tablet war across the world, Australia’s industry experts assess which company will come out on top.
With the market expected to hit new heights in the weeks before Christmas, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer laid down the gauntlet to his Apple equivalent Tim Cook, saying the Surface will compete directly with the iPad.
Holding a formidable force within the tablet market, Apple will take some beating with Microsoft’s first venture into the tablet industry, as analysts already question the price range for the impending Surface.
Going on sale next Friday, the Surface is available for pre-order from Australian customers for A$599 for a 32GB version and A$789 for a 64GB model.
The software maker will build between 3-5 million products during the fourth quarter according to component supplier sources in Asia.
“The Surface faces a stiff challenge in the Australian market,” Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi told CommsDay.
“It heads into an Apple dominant marketplace and needs to do avoid the mistakes of early Android tablet manufacturers that failed to provide a compelling reason to purchase their products over the iPad.
“Surface needs be competitively priced and prove it has usability that matches or exceeds its rivals.”
Apple’s iPad Mini:
But the iPad Mini, scheduled for release on October 23, is already steaming ahead with 10 million products ordered from Asian suppliers, more than double Microsoft and Amazon’s lower-priced Kindle Fire.
“Apple seeks to tap into the burgeoning market for smaller form factor media tablets,” Fadaghi says.
“Devices in the lower price points (sub $500) are in high demand and if Apple can move down market without sacrificing too much margin, it’s likely to boost its profits and help it stay dominant in the Australian market.”
Vodafone added weigh to the argument, telling CommsDay:
“Apple established a clear early lead in the tablet market, but we are now seeing far more competition from Android-driven products, with Samsung as a dominant player, but with the later emergence of Amazon and Google’s strong 7 inch tablet devices.
“The iPad Mini is certainly an interesting play for Apple, and we will be interested to see what variants become available at launch… [and] the launch of Windows 8 later this month certainly brings a viable third operating system to the tablet market both globally and in Australia.”
And the winner is…?
While refusing to comment specifically on the local Australian market, Ovum chief telecoms analyst Jan Dawson believed Apple to have the leading product on a broader scale, telling CommsDay:
“The iPad Mini is likely to do very well, and may even eclipse the performance of the 10 inch version, on a global basis.
“It’s likely to be significantly more affordable, and therefore will fit into many more people’s budgets.”
“The Surface is much harder to call because no one outside of Microsoft has spent any time with it.
“We now at least know the price, but we have no idea how it performs in real life, and therefore how competitive it will be compared with the iPad or even other Windows 8 tablets.
“The fact that the advertising focuses on the keyboard, which doesn’t even come with the device as standard, is a bad sign.”
Which do you think will come out on top? Tell us your thoughts below