Analyst: iPad 2 ‘Critical Catalyst’ for Continued Tablet Lead



Despite the iPad 2 introduction lacking a lower price, analysts Thursday view the updated tablet as a ‘critical catalyst’ helping Apple maintain its lead in the tablet marketplace.

“We believe the iPad 2 introduction and the June iPhone refresh will serve as critical catalysts in the coming months,” Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope told investors. Although Goldman Sachs had assumed a lower selling price would also be unveiled, the analyst firm still believes Apple will maintain – or even grow – its current lead.

“We are maintaining our unit estimates due to our view that the iPad 2 will accelerate Apple’s competitive momentum in tablets,” Shope added.

Although 2011 will see a large number of rival devices looking to cash in on the movement toward tablet computing, one analyst believes the iPad 2 spells trouble. “This is a sad day for the crowd of competitors still struggling to home in on the first iPad’s price and performance,” Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner opined in an investor note. Apple is on track to control 75 percent to 85 percent of the 2011 tablet market, Reiner believes.

The rise of the tablet is seen in a lower estimate of consumer mobile PCs, such as low-cost netbooks. Research firm Gartner Thursday announced it expects year-over-year global PC shipments to increase 10.5 percent in 2011, down from a previous estimate of 15.9 percent growth.

[WSJ, Reuters]