With the launch of Apple's iPad 3, Ovum analysts have said that although 2012 will see increasing competition in the tablet market, the new iteration of the iPad will cement Apple's market-leading position through to the end of the year at least.
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According to principal analyst Adam Leach, rivals will not be able to bring their products to market quickly enough to effectively react to Wednesday evening's announcement, which means that Apple will draw out its lead.
However, he said, both Google and Microsoft are very well-placed to present a credible challenge once out of the starting blocks.
"Google has bridged the smartphone tablet divide with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), offering developers a unified platform for the two types. This should increase the number of tablet optimised applications which were notably absent from Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)," said Leach.
"In addition, Microsoft is set to launch Windows 8, targeting tablets with its Metro UI and build specifically for ARM-based chipsets," he continued. "[The] introduction of Windows 8 on ARM and its shift away from Intel for tablets will drastically increase the company's ability to compete on price point and user experience with Apple," he added.
Meanwhile, in a seperate piece of research from the analyst firm, Ovum's Richard Absalom said the key to successful tablet deployments in the business world will be the provision of line-of-business tablet apps specifically designed for particular roles within an organisation.
"Providing a range of customised applications that make use of tablet functionalities for employees in specific job roles is a good way to gain maximum value from tablets," Absalom explained.
Ovum said it was starting to see a more structured, creative approach to tablet deployments from IT departments keen to proactively exploit the form factor, rather than reacting to C-level executives making unilateral decisions. This would almost certainly open up new routes into the business for resellers, particularly around security.