Apple iPad Pro Expected to Change Face of Business Tablet Market

With larger screen sizes gaining favor and increasing use among enterprises the tablet market is exploding, with shipments growing 185 percent this year over 2014.

That’s according to Strategy Analytics’ new Tablet and Touchscreen Strategies report. More competition among and adoption of 2-in-1 detachable tablets is expected to prompt a growing percentage of larger screen-sized tablets in 2015 and beyond.

Apple’s anticipated iPad Pro – rumored at 12 or 13 inches – will join a market that is primed for growth, thanks to the success of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 and larger 2-in-1 detachable tablets from traditional PC vendors like Lenovo, Acer and Asus, according to the report.

“Just as phablets (larger-screen smartphones) have eaten away at the smaller end of the tablet spectrum, the gulf between PCs and tablets is shrinking every day,” said Eric Smith, senior analyst of tablet and touchscreen strategies. “Major vendors are pushing the boundaries of all three major mobile operating systems and hardware configurations to transform the tablet into a content-creation device.”

Tablets are increasingly serving new market segments, such as field work, health care, retail point of sale, education and even desk work, he said.

“The success of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 – and now the lower-cost Surface 3 – has opened the market for traditional PC vendors to sell larger screen-sized Windows tablets to compete for PC replacement dollars,” said Peter King, service director of tablet and touchscreen strategies.

In addition, 2-in-1 tablets have gained market share as costs have come down, placing 10-inc and 11-inch Windows tablets in lower-price tiers for mass market consumption, he said.

Last month, Channel Partners reported on a new opportunity for more partners to sell Surface. Microsoft said the number of resellers who can get their hands on the device will increase from a few hundred to a few thousand around the world in the next few months. In addition, it plans to help partners with new certification for Windows 10 and EMS that will help them develop more mobility opportunities.

By 2019, shipments of tablets with screen sizes of 11 inches or larger will nearly double, to 19.3 million units, grabbing a 7 percent share of the market. The expected growth is attributed to a combination of enterprise PC replacement and workflow transformation, according to the report.

Consumer adoption of 2-in-1 tablets also will contribute to this strong growth.

Once the market-leading screen-size segment, shipments of 7-7.9-inch tablets will shrink 15 percentage points to occupy 30 percent of the market in 2019 as the 8-8.9-inch segment grows to 31 percent of shipments.

While 2-in-1 tablets and premium large-screen slate tablets will drive growth for users seeking content-creation devices, mobile-content consumption and TV viewing will remain a big part of the market, with a global installed base of 995 million tablets in 2019, up 32 percent from 2015, according to the report.

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