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Apple's iPad: Domination Through 2012

CUPERTINO, California ( TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG - Get Report), Motorola (MOT) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ) may have high hopes for their forthcoming tablets, but Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPad is expected to dominate the market for at least the next couple of years.

The latest figures from tech research firm iSuppli reveal that Apple is unlikely to face a viable tablet competitor until 2011, and will maintain its dominant market position until 2012.

Apple's iPad will account for an overwhelming 74.1% of global tablet shipments in 2010, according to iSuppli, which predicts that this figure will only slip to 70.4% in 2011. Even in 2012, the iPad is expected to account for 61.7% of tablet shipments as competitors scramble to gain ground on the consumer tech giant.

Tablets from Google and Motorola are expected to appear this fall, with HP's slate device and Cisco's(CSCO) business-focused Cius coming in early 2011.

These companies, however, are unlikely to make an immediate impact in the tablet market, according to iSuppli's research. "If recent history is any lesson, it will take some time for these companies to get their products to market, longer for them to offer necessary software support and infrastructure, and an even lengthier period to begin to rival the overall user experience Apple is able to deliver," said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at iSuppli, in a statement.

Apple is certainly experiencing great success with the iPad and has already shipped more than 3 million of the devices. Such is the iPad's impact on the tablet market that analysts are already scrambling to raise their estimates for a technology that was seen as a dull backwater just a few months ago.

Analyst firm Gleacher & Company recently said that Apple is also becoming more efficient at getting iPads into the hands of consumers, and adds that the tablet is not eating into other Apple product revenue.

Apple is rumored to be developing a smaller version of the iPad, with a 7-inch screen, which will be available in time for the holiday, although Apple refused to comment on this possibility when contacted by TheStreet.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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