Why the iPad is doing just fine — for now

Fresh data from ABI Research indicates the iPad’s dominance in the tablet market is diminishing in a hurry, as Mobile Marketing Watch reports. Apple’s share of the tablet market slipped 14 percent during the third quarter to 55 percent, marking an all-time low. Android tablets, meanwhile, continued to increase their share of the market to 44 percent.

The news may signal that the end of Apple’s days of owning the majority of the tablet market, and TechnoBuffalo goes so far as to ask whether the iPad can survive. But that’s a silly question, as even TechnoBuffalo seems to concede, because Apple is the sole manufacturer of iOS tablets, while a host of companies are building Android slates. And true to form, Apple maintains a very limited portfolio of tablets, only recently introducing a mid-range, smaller gadget.

The evolution of the tablet market has largely mirrored the smartphone market following the introduction of the smartphone: Apple jumped out in front with a revolutionary device, but its tightly-controlled ecosystem has allowed Android catch up and then surpass it in terms of market share. That trend will continue in tablets, although there’s room for even more diversity in that market than in the smartphone space because tablets can potentially do so much more than phones. Which is why I think Apple would be wise to watch the market closely and be ready to expand its tablet lineup when necessary.