New iPad’s Luscious Screens to Gain Market Share in 2012, Publishers Should Take Notice

By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid

Related: Details on the New iPad | The Shiny New iPad: What It Means for Publishers

The unveiling of the new iPad this week will help erase slight tablet market share losses Apple suffered in 2011 due to the introduction to the marketplace of myriad competitors, according to a new report. For publishers, this means more high-definition “Retina” display screens for more readers.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire and others drove the iPad’s global tablet market share down to 57% in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to a full-year market share for the device of 62%, according to a report from IHS iSuppli, an El Segundo, Calif.-based technology research unit of global research firm IHS.

But with the release of the new iPad, Apple is introducing a new generation of tablet technology to the market, which will help it regain lost market share, said Rhoda Alexander, the senior manager at IHS iSuppli who wrote the report.

Most notably for publishers, the new high-definition display on the iPad, which experts say will greatly improve the reading experience, will gain market share. And not just in Apple products.

“This is going to be the first product like this out there in the market,” said Alexander. “We know from talking to the panel manufacturers that this is the first of many products coming out with a higher resolution screen. It’s not just apple. This is going to be a growing category.”

Publishers of highly graphic material – photo books, children’s books and comic books, for instance – now have a more vivid stage on which to set their work.

“The new display absolutely excites us,” said Matt Parkinson, senior director of marketing at Dark Horse Comics, the Milwaukee, Oreg.-based comic-book publisher that recently announced over 100 of its titles would for the first time appear on Nook and Kobo devices.

Dark Horse doesn’t yet have any of its titles on Apple proprietary platforms like iBooks, but the new display could accelerate the company’s efforts to get a deal done with Apple.

“There’s a really strong chance you’ll see us move in that direction within the year,” said Parkinson, who told us earlier in the week that Dark Horse would also likely have its titles on Kindle products by year-end.

According to Parkinson, Dark Horse – and likely other companies that have interest in putting highly graphical content on tablet devices – has been following tablet technology for some time and was aware that the new display would be announced soon. Yet, the company’s priorities still in getting much of its backlist digitized.

“We’d love to be able to do all things at once, but we have to pick and choose,” said Parkinson.

Write to Jeremy Greenfield

Related: Details on the New iPad | The Shiny New iPad: What It Means for Publishers

iPad unit sales growth versus other tablet computers through 2016. Source: IHS iSuppli

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