Research firm IHS iSuppli finds that Apple is its own biggest competitor in the tablet market, as the iPhone 4S is the prime alternative for the iPad:
Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the IHS iSuppli Display Materials & Systems Service at information and analysis provider IHS. But while shipments were up 39% from 11.1 million in the third quarter, Apple's share of the global media tablet market slipped to 57% in the fourth quarter, down from 64% in the third quarter.
"Shipments of the iPad line fell short of IHS estimates in the fourth quarter as many loyal Apple customers devoted their dollars to shiny new alternatives," said Rhoda Alexander, senior manager, tablet and monitor research for IHS. "However, the primary alternative wasn't the Kindle Fire, which debuted to solid sales in the fourth quarter, but Apple's own iPhone 4S smartphone. The rollout of the iPhone 4S in October generated intense competition for Apple purchasers' disposable income, doing more to limit iPad shipment growth than competition from the Kindle Fire and other media tablets."