I’m sure that even the most hardcore Android fans will agree that Apple’s original iPad created the tablet market from scratch. Since Android manufacturers were caught slightly off guard by the success of the original iPad, it should come as no surprise that Apple has basically owned the tablet market since it first debuted its profitable darling. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find that while the third incarnation of the Apple tablet is an impressive piece of hardware, it turns out that sales are sluggish at best, despite Apple’s announcement of a record breaking first weekend. While Apple evangelists would perhaps like to believe differently, Android will soon top iOS as the most popular tablet OS in the world.
According to a recent report from Want China Times, Foxconn employees are reporting of a sharp decline in the number of iPads assembled each day at the company’s assembly line in Shenzhen, which is likely where most of your modern technology comes from, in Southern China. In his words:
“At first we worked eight hours a day, sometimes two hours of overtime were required. We assembled 1,000 iPads within 10 hours. In February, we produced 150 to 180 iPads per hour.” “However, moving forward to March, sometimes we have not even been able to work five days a week.”
The employee went on to state that he had had 10 days off during March due to the sales decline, with three of the 20 independent assembly lines being stopped to make way for other products to be produced.
Elsewhere in the world, a similar theme is emerging too. Scalpers in Hong Kong typically used to getting a healthy 30% margin on Apple products are reporting disappointing demand, and are ‘feeling overstocked’ and are failing to make the juicy margins they have managed in the past.
Whether this should serve as a bellwether of declining demand for Apple’s new iPad remains to be seen. What is likely though is that consumers are waking up to the dizzying array of competitively priced alternatives. Of course, we are essentially talking about three (one) devices competing with every Android tablet on the market, so it’s easy to see how Android has the upper hand. Regardless, this is unprecedented. Virtually ever device Apple has created has gone on to sell extremely well, but it looks like the tide is finally shifting. Any thoughts? Is Android on the right track, or does Apple have it right with its strategy? What tablet are you most excited about?