The Reign of the iPad Remains Unchallenged: The HP TouchPad Takes a Hike

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Last week, technologies giant Hewlett-Packard announced they were disabling their personal computer wing of business. For Apple, it was the official indicator that the iPad was going to enter the 2011 holiday shopping season without a worthy opponent. That’s on account of the fact that the only competitor tablet that had a fighting chance against the iPad was HP’s TouchPad. As of August, Apple’s iPad is essentially the only tablet on the market.

Without a healthy dose of competition, however, the iPad is at risk of floundering in breakthroughs in coming years. But that might very well have more to do with the fact that the tablet is simply still too limiting in its function for Apple to continue to impress people with new features every six months or so. It’s not that Apple isn’t trying. Instead, it appears that Apple is about as uncertain about the future of tablet computing as its already defunct competition.

In the short-term, the HP fiasco couldn’t have happened at a better time for Apple and the iPad line. The TouchPad has been drastically reduced in price down to $99.99, reflecting consumer fears that HP’s cloud computing services and other necessities for optimum TouchPad use will soon lower in quality or disappear altogether. With or without such concern preventing people from passing up such a bargain, the TouchPad is sure to be long-gone by Christmas time. With the iPhone 5 pre-holiday release now in question and problems plaguing iOS5 in general, not having to worry about iPad marketing is a load off Apple’s mind.

But the tech giant shouldn’t get too cozy. There are sure to be further attempts to out-iPad the iPad by other computer manufacturers. If they choose to cut back on iPad innovation in 2011, they risk holding onto their tablet dominance beyond 2012 if another company takes the time to succeed where Apple fails.

Until then, however, it seems overly apparent that Apple has little to lose sleep over in the tablet department.

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