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Apple (s aapl) offers six separate models of its iPad 2 (nine if you count the CDMA and GSM 3G versions separately), but more than half of iPad buyers choose between only two options: The 64 GB 3G iPad 2 and the 16 GB Wi-Fi only model are the consumer favorites in some regions.
Research firm Context (via V3) compiled a report about the state of the tablet market in western Europe, and found that the 64 GB 3G iPad 2 has accounted for a third of all iPad 2 sales since launch. The next closest model is the 16 GB WiFi-only iPad 2, which was responsible for 22 percent of all sales.
It seems likely that iPad 2 buyers are approaching model choice with an “all or nothing” mentality, opting either for the fully loaded version or the absolute barebones configuration. And by a significant margin, many appear to be choosing the more expensive option of the two.
There are a number of factors that could contribute to the 64 GB 3G iPad’s popularity. First, after one update cycle has already passed, buyers are more aware of what kind of storage and connectivity needs they have for tablet computing. They’re also now aware that iPads do a very good job of retaining much of their value for resale. Finally, it may be the case that Apple stocked store shelves with more of the 64 GB 3G and 16 GB Wi-FI models, anticipating higher sales of those, and that customers who waited in line or encountered supply constraints of other variants were happy to take what they could get.
The report from Context also found that the iPad represented 80 percent of tablet devices sold during the first quarter of 2011, but that the percentage fell by five points compared to the previous quarter, due to increased popularity of Android (s goog) devices. But some of the biggest early names in Android tablets (such as the Motorola Xoom (s mmi)) aren’t the ones that will catch on with consumers, according to Context analyst Salman Chaudry. Devices that received much less pre-release fanfare, like Acer’s Android-powered Iconia A500, are likely to do better according to Chaudry.
However the tablet market shapes up for the rest of 2011, Apple is sure to remain on top of the heap. It’ll be interesting to see if customers continue to flock to the most and least expensive models of its iPad 2, or whether that distribution will change over time.