In case you missed it, Apple (AAPL) recently revealed its 5th generation iPad: the iPad air.
When the original Apple iPad was released in 2010, it had the tablet market pretty much to itself. The Apple iPad Air won’t enjoy such a luxury, though. Virtually every consumer technology company is now trying to make the best tablets. And while early attempts to match the success of the Apple iPad success failed to catch on — anyone remember BlackBerry’s (BBRY) PlayBook? — the tablet market is now extremely competitive.
Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system continues to look unstoppable, and tablets running Android knocked the Apple iOS out of top spot for tablet market share earlier this year. And while the Apple iPad is still the single best-selling tablet and AAPL the biggest tablet manufacturer, there have been other worrying signs. In Q3, Apple shipped 14.1 million iPads, up just 0.6% year-over-year. Meanwhile, rival Samsung (SSNLF) shipped 9.7 million tablets, up a whopping 123%.
So there is a lot riding on the new iPad air. Since the iPad air will be carrying Apple through the holiday season and into 2014, it must lure current iPad owners into upgrading and also entice consumers who have seen Android and Windows tablets get better and cheaper.
Because the iPad Air needs to put Apple firmly back on top of the full-sized tablet hierarchy, that requires more than the simple spec bump the previous generation received. Read our iPad Air review to see if AAPL succeeded.