Much like with its iPhone, it was difficult to predict the kind of success Apple's iPad tablet would have when it was first launched. As with most products Apple preps for launch, the iPad enjoyed an enviable amount of hype leading up to its launch, but even after its launch, many may still have had that lingering question: "Why do I really need a tablet?"
In recent years, that question for many was more of a statement spoken with their wallets, with sales of slates offering a solid area of growth for Apple and other manufacturers. Once again, Apple managed to take a design concept that needed some serious TLC and brought their industrial design chops and a UI revamped to it and they hit a home. And soon the market was littered with tablets, especially for Android solutions.
A couple of years ago, Android tablets collectively managed to overtake Apple tablet sales, which to anyone paying attention to the market wasn't a surprise. As with Android handsets, cost is key, and where Android tablets are concerned, the sheer number of affordable tablets could almost be considered overwhelming. Recently, Amazon really whittled the price tag down in the segment with its Fire tablet, a 7-inch offering that costs a mere $50.
So, what about Microsoft? Though their market entrance wasn't very strong, times are changing clearly. According to research firm 1010data, it appears that the company is doing very well with its Surface line, despite the fact that unlike Android, it's almost exclusively a premium tablet-hybrid option.
Prior to this recent update, the closest Microsoft came to Apple tablet online sales occurred in August of this year, with Microsoft scoring about a 22% share of sales, and Apple settling around 29%. Fast-forward to October, and the numbers dramatically change. Here, Apple's share plummets to 17%, while Microsoft's soars to 45% - an increase fueled by the release of its Surface Pro 4. In terms of overall sales, Apple still wins: over the last 12 months, Apple's achieved a 34% share, while Microsoft's peaked at 19%.
As noted, Microsoft's tablets are not inexpensive, and this fact reflects itself in this data with the help of an "average selling price by brand" metric. While Amazon's average sell price was $150, Apple's was $392. Microsoft, meanwhile, averaged out at more than double: $844. What's interesting, but not too surprising about this, is that it means that the vast majority of Surface owners stick with the lower-end models. The least-expensive Surface Pro 4 available right now is $899, which is higher than this average.
With Apple having just released its much-anticipated iPad Pro, and Microsoft's current Surface line being above that current $844 average price, we could see some interesting changes in the next report, after the holiday sales rush is all chalked-up in for the season.