Asus' Eee Pad Transformer did very well when it hit the shops, but sales have fallen back somewhat since, we hear. Ditto RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook and a host of other tablets.
So while Apple's sales are steady, its rivals need regular launches to maintain sales volumes.
They're generally not doing so, though, and so are not having a generally happy experience in the tablet market.
Digitimes quotes unnamed "sources from PC players" - the very folk, in other words, not enjoying regular strong tablet sales, who spin the whole market downwards so that "although tablet PC shipments in 2011 are expected to reach 62.5m units, with Apple reportedly to cut its iPad 2 orders, while HP and RIM had both suffered from unsatisfactory tablet PC sales, indications are that tablet PC shipment growth is already slowing down".
Actually, there's no sign of that at all.
Claims that Apple has cut iPad production orders for Q4 have not been verified and, in any case, are just as plausibly an attempt to prevent over-supply in the run-up to Q1 2012's iPad 3 launch as a sign that fondleslab fever is abating.
Toshiba's AT200 tablet. Tosh seems happy doing tablets and Ultrabooks, announcing one of each at IFA
Equally, Apple may have lowered Q4 production after having boosted output in Q3, something it has previously claimed to be contemplating. For Apple, Holiday sales are key, and it will be paving the way for them in Q3, not Q4.
HP and RIM both released product that was behind the technology or design curve. But other makes have caught up quickly, most notably Samsung, with its very nice Galaxy Tab 7.7, 8.9 and 10.1. Which is probably why it's getting so much attention from Apple Legal.
Now, Apple may well fail and Samsung may get its new Galaxy Tabs out, only to find that punters have indeed grown weary of tablets. They may indeed favour Ultrabooks instead.
Demand for skinny laptops does not inherently mean demand for tablets will fall. People generally buy tablets not as laptop replacements. Yes, a tablet purchase may mean a delayed laptop purchase, but not that no notebook will be bought at all.
So just because an Ultrabook supplier with a poor track record in tablets tells you otherwise, there's no need to take its words at face value. ®
Ultrabooks vs tablets: tablet demise greatly exaggerated
Tablets != Laptops
How many times must this be said: tablet devices - fondleslabs - are not the same as Laptop computers. This blindingly obvious fact is still completely missed by many PC manufacturers.
A tablet device does not run Windows. It's very much the sort of device that Apple have produced; a stand-alone device with few if any peripherals.
Interestingly Apple seem to have pitched the price and product absolutely right. All the others need to beat this. Given that they can't improve the product -- such is the standard that Apple have set -- then they must improve the price. As Apple have years of experience of building high-tech high-volume consumer devices, the iPod, the PC manufacturers are indeed batting on a sticky wicket.
If only they could manage a passing resemblance to the build quality of the MBA.
Macbook Air clones
They're going to have to compete with the MBA - they're going to struggle to get prices down without some serious compromises somewhere (most likely case material). It seems most of the prototypes bear more than a passing resemblance to the MBA!
ASUS Transformer - Survey says it da bomb!
From an admittedly small sample size (me, the owner, and about a dozen friends, colleagues and associates who have had some "hands on" time with the device), the verdict is a resounding HELL YEAH that a tablet which can dock/transform into a netbook is a perfect compromise/hybrid.
I myself used to enjoy browsing the web on my partner's iPad, and the eeePad is a world of productivity apart from that very passive media consuming fruit slab.
I don't think much can be drawn from "sales falling back" of the Transfomer since launch - that happens with just about any new device... an initial rush which slows as more reflective and considered purchasers choose to part with their hard earned.
And the decision to part with hard earned is also becoming harder... the success of the iPad was perhaps as much a result of it's launch coming at the end of the most recent period of consumer optimism, and the relative lack of success of more recent tablets equally perhaps attributable to the new era of consumer fear and pessimism.
Save the racist remarks for /b/ thanks.