Apple iPad Outselling Microsoft Surface Tablet as 2012 Holiday Shopping Season Begins
As the 2012 holiday shopping season begins, bad news for Microsoft: Apple's iPad trounced the Surface tablet in sales during the Black Friday weekend, according to research firm Piper Jaffary.
Over the holiday shopping weekend, the research firm sent a representative to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, where Apple and Microsoft have stores across from each other, and found Apple's foot traffic was 47 percent higher during a two-hour observation period, in which no Surface tablets were purchased at the Microsoft store.
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"On average, 3.5 items were purchased per hour at the Microsoft store (all but two purchases were XBox games) compared to 17.2 items at the Apple store," analyst Gene Munster wrote in an investor note. "Also notable, was that there were no Microsoft Surfaces sold during those two hours."
The report also pointed to a 31 percent surge in traffic to the Apple store compared with the same period last year, which Munster attributed to interest in the recently released iPad mini. Apple sold 11 tablets per hour, compared with 14.8 iPads sold per hour last year, Piper Jaffary said. Munster added that supply problems could be negatively impacting the number of tablets Apple has available for sale.
"We believe the lack of supply of the 16GB versions had a measurable impact on Black Friday Mini sales," Munster continued. "While we remain comfortable with our Dec-12 estimate of 5 million iPad Mini's, the spotty supply tempers the upside potential."
An October report from NPD DisplaySearch senior analyst Richard Shim, said although Apple is expanding its partner base for the iPad mini, issues with the display panel would likely limit initial shipments.
Microsoft Surface is generating a lot of interest, "but interest was not necessarily leading to sales," Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry said in a research note.
Speaking with French newspaper Le Parisien recently, CEO Ballmer admitted sales of the Surface RT began "modestly," and that he expects stronger initial results for the more advanced Surface Pro tablet, running the full version of Windows 8.
Perhaps even worse news for Microsoft: a majority of U.S. adults have never heard of Windows 8, according to a recent survey released by the Associated Press. In a telephone survey of 1,200 U.S. adults, 52 percent had never heard of Windows 8. Granted, that statistic is slightly offset by the fact that the survey was conducted a mere two weeks follow the operating system's launch.
Customers he spoke with are waiting for Microsoft to release a version of Surface running the Windows 8 operating system on Intel chips. Current Surface models run Windows RT on low-power ARM based chips.
Sales of Surface tablets would have been five times better than current levels had Microsoft shipped Windows 8 models first, he said.
Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair said Apple's iPad "was likely the hottest product of the weekend." All three versions - the iPad mini, iPad 2, and fourth-generation iPad - saw "strong sales ... reflecting the platform's continued dominance."
The iPad Mini was sold out in many locations, "proving that the $329 price point holds tremendous appeal to consumers," Blair said in a research note Monday.
Apple's iPhone handsets and Samsung's Galaxy smartphone line also sold well over the Black Friday weekend, Blair said. Samsung's Galaxy S3 was offered for $25 to $50 with a two-year contract, vs. the normal $199 price. Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows-based phones from Nokia saw "tepid sales even with heavy discounts," he said.
iPad Mini Specs
You can get an iPad Mini Wi-Fi model in three memory configurations: $329 for 16GB, $429 for 32GB, and $529 for 64GB. Wi-Fi + 4G models sell for $459 for 16GB, $559 for 32GB, and $659 for 64GB.
The 1,024x768-pixel resolution matches that of the iPad 2, but on a 7.9-inch display. "This definitely isn't Retina Display, but it's better-than-iPad-2 display. Videos look excellent, and the IPS screen has great wide-viewing angles," said CNET.
Includes a front-facing 720p-capable FaceTime camera, and a 5-megapixel back camera, and also supports 4G LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi at 5.2Ghz, Bluetooth 4.0, and will use Apple's Lightning connector, first seen on the iPhone 5.
Apple claims that the Mini has a 10-hour battery life.
Microsoft Surface tablet features
The RT sports a 1366x768 HD screen, while the PRO has a 10.6-inch Clear type Full HD (1920 x 1080) screen with 16:9 widescreen.
That means they are among the biggest tablets in the market. If you are not satisfied with the typical 10.1-inch tablet, you can go for the Surface tablet. Along with the touch keyboards with the device, you can turn the machine to a small notebook.
The Surface tablet comes with five Touch Covers. Different from typical keyboards, the Surface keypads provide a smoother typing experience thanks to their touch-based surface.
The Surface tablets mount both front and rear cameras. The front camera, named life cam by Microsoft, makes the tablet ideal for video chatting through Skype or other services. Using the rear camera, you can capture images and video clips.
Microsoft puts forward better memory options with the Surface tablets. The device comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options. The 128GB is available only with Surface Pro. Further, you can expand the memory using external memory sticks thanks to microSD card slot. That is, you can store enough data including music, software items and video in external clips.
The 3mm Touch Cover can be connected to your Surface tablet with a single magnetic click, so, now you can type text and send messages quite easily.
The Surface's tablet housing features a revolutionary kickstand. Along with fully functioning keyboard and track-pad, the integrated kickstand helps you place the gadget in both portrait or landscape modes.
According to Bloomberg, Surface will only be able to go online using a short-range Wi-Fi connection. This is a stark contrast to Apple's iPad 3, which has a 3G option, and a faster LTE connection.