Now, let's be honest: the burgeoning tablet market is not a race. But if it was, says analyst Chris Whitmore of Deutsche Bank, the iPad would be winning. We're going to see quite a few tablet devices come to market before all is said and done, including the Blackberry PlayBook and products from manufacturers like Dell, Microsoft, and maybe Google. Even after those other tablets come out, Whitmore says the iPad's lead is going to be tough to overcome quickly, if ever. "We expect the slew of upcoming competition to fall flat from a user experience standpoint while struggl[ing] to materially undercut the iPad on price," Whitmore reported.
User experience is a no-brainer -- that's something Apple has always done well, and it's arguable that the iPad is its finest hardware from an accessibility standpoint. But price is something else; Apple has made deals and even manufactured its own chip to create the tantalizing mix of performance and cost found in the iPad. Other manufacturers will have trouble doing the same, especially with the lead Apple already has. According to Whitmore, the App Store has also given Apple a head start on applications, deals with media companies have brought big-name content to the platform, and a slew of competition versus Apple's one-device strategy will create problems for anyone attempting to climb the tablet mountain.
That's not to say that there can't be another successful tablet, it's just that if anyone wants to have another iPad, they've got a lot of work ahead of them. That's not surprising -- Apple has already reaped the benefits of its early grab at a tablet-style computer, and there are much more earnings where those came from.