Apple tops tablets through 2011

The growing number of vendors launching tablet PCs will drive sale of the devices to 55 million units in 2011, investment bank Canaccord Genuity predicts.
Shipments in 2010 are forecast to hit 20 million units as manufacturers increasingly tap into the emerging device segment, however the bank expects Apple to maintain its dominance in terms of market share due to its head-start on rivals.
Canaccord analyst Michael Walkley says the iPad has a better user interface that will combine with its stronger apps offering to keep the device out front, reported.
The bank predicts iPad sales will grow from 13.5 million in 2010 to 25.5 million in 2011, however it notes the figures could be conservative if Apple ramps production to meet demand.
Even if supply isn’t increased, Apple’s sales will still dwarf the competition. Walkley predicts Samsung will take second place in 2011 on sales of 6 million tablets, with RIM third on 5 million.
With RIM’s freshly unveiled BlackBerry Tablet OS and Nokia’s MeeGo unknown quantities, Walkley predicts many tablet manufacturers will run Android.
However, that decision could limit the success of rival tablets, due to uncertainty regarding the Android apps ecosystem and the unproven nature of version 2.2 of the OS in tablet products, Walkley said.
Making matters worse for potential competitors are reports from Goldman Sachs that Apple will launch its second-generation iPad in 2Q11.
The device will feature a 9.7-inch display and is likely to be thinner and lighter than version one, Bloomberg reports.