Apple Releases new iPad, but Android Debate Rages On

While Apple (Nasdaq; AAPL) debuted its lighter, faster iPad Air tablet with much fanfare this week, tech analysts debate whether shoppers will make more transactions with Apple or Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android platform in the future. One of the main sticking points for some consumers is Apple’s price tag. The iPad Air starts at $499 and the iPad Mini 2 is $399, both of which are at the high end of the tablet market, Jan Dawson, chief telecommunications analyst at Ovum, a technology research and consulting firm, told Internet Retailer. "These are premium price points, Apple isn't going down-market at all," Dawson said. "In fact, the two older devices that are still in market have pretty dated specs at this point and aren't even all that price-competitive. So, these new iPads are premium devices for those willing to pay a little more for the privilege." Apple’s iPad 2, starts at $399, and the original iPad Mini is priced at $299. Conversely, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) recently debuted the new Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets, which are reportedly faster and have better displays – similar to the iPad Air. However, they are priced significantly below the new iPads. The Kindle Fire HD retails for around $139 and the 8.9-inch screen Fire HDX costs $379. Still, we think the tech experts are missing the point. Apple still has the tablet market cornered, with iPads accounting for 57 percent of tablets sold in 2012, according to Barclays Capital. Let’s be real about the popularity of iPads, and shoppers’ increasing use of them to order products from their favorite retailers. The overwhelming majority of retailers’ mobile traffic – in some cases as high as 90 percent – comes from Apple devices, retailers told Internet Retailer. Retailers also say their shoppers’ highest mobile conversion rates and highest mobile average tickets can be attributed to iPad orders, often higher than orders from desktops. As advanced and easy-to-use as Android tablets are, retailers are just not yet seeing the same level of m-commerce sales from the devices. We think it’s time to stop splitting hairs on which tablets are better, and focus instead on retailers’ m-commerce sites and online fulfillment. Having a flawless order experience this holiday season is essential to making customers happy during the season – and well into the future.