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BLOG: The tablet Apple doesn't want you to swallow

Adam Turner (SMH) | Dec. 1, 2011
Has Apple scored an own goal in the Samsung tablet fight?

Has Apple scored an own goal in the Samsung tablet fight?

Money can’t buy the publicity Apple has generated for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Of all the Android Honeycomb tablets to emerge this year, none have sparked as much interest as the Galaxy Tab. Not necessary because it’s an iPad killer, or even the best Android tablet on the market, but simply because it’s the tablet Apple doesn’t want you to see. If I was Samsung, that would be my sales slogan in the run up to Christmas.

This week the full bench of the Federal Court reversed a ruling that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 be banned from sale in Australia. The ban will be lifted at 4pm on Friday unless Apple manages to extend the deadline through a High Court appeal.

If the ban is lifted, it’s unlikely that stores will have stock ready to sell over the counter, but the likes of Vodafone have already indicated they'll scramble to sell the tablet as soon as possible. Meanwhile you can be sure that online stores will be ready to pounce to meet pent up demand - demand driven by Apple’s strong-arm tactics that put Samsung’s tablet in the spotlight.

It’s difficult to say how much damage the ban inflicted on Samsung in lost sales. 

Most tech-savvy people have already chosen sides in the war between Apple and Android. In such circles the ban on the Galaxy Tab would have seen Android fans either import a Samsung tablet online, or else look to another Android brand tablet rather embrace Apple’s iPad. Meanwhile iGadget fans wouldn’t have strayed from the iPad had the Galaxy Tab 10.1 been sitting next to it on the shelf.

Now that tablets have passed the early adopter phase, the real war has begun to win over the mainstream masses. It’s a war that Apple was certainly winning before the ban on the Galaxy Tab, as most non tech-savvy people wouldn’t have been able to name even one competitor to the iPad. If they were aware of competing devices, they probably dismissed them as a pale imitation of Apple’s wundertablet. But not now.

Now Apple has come out and declared the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to be so similar to the iPad that it should banned, splashing the Samsung tablet across the headlines in the process. Many undecided tablet shoppers will see this as an admission from Apple that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a viable alternative to the iPad, whether or not that’s the message that Apple intended to convey. Rather than letting the Galaxy Tab 10.1 fizzle away as another Android also-ran, Apple has painted it as an iPad killer.


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