With the launch of the new iPad in the rear view mirror, it's time for the annual iPad sales hysteria. Since its introduction in 2010, the iPad has dominated & defined the tablet market. iPad & tablet sales have been zooming over the past year, with annual growth in excess of 250%. However, in Q4 2011, the iPad's market share dropped to 57% as compared to 39% for Android tablets. Even with this drop, absolute sales numbers for the iPad have seen phenomenal growth, which emphasizes the staggering growth of the tablet market.
Now, as with the launch of any major Apple product, the iPad will see a spurt in sales & market share this quarter. But what will the iPad's market position look like in this industry in the long-term? In order to understand this, we need to understand the primary product & market segments in the industry. Industry segments typically evolve over time and have a greater impact as an industry matures. We have seen the beginnings of this kind of segmentation starting to form, with the launch of products like the Asus Transformer Prime and the Kindle Fire. Let's have a look at these segments and how they would affect the iPad, as well as the industry at large.