Competition Races to Catch Up with Apple in 2012

The competition is out to get Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in 2012. CNET reports that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Samsung, HP (NYSE:HPQ) and Lenovo are all going into the New Year with products that are looking to go head to head with Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Air.

While the iPad currently owns the tablet market with a whopping 80% market share, Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire is gaining momentum. Analysts believe the Fire could outsell the iPad in 2012 due to its attractive price tag ($199). Amazon is happy to grab the lower end tablet market and charge less while reaping benefits through the sale of apps, movies, books and other Amazon goods that can be purchased through the tablet. CNET also reports that the next generation of tablets taking aim at the iPad will be netbook/tablet hybrids with pivoting screens and detachable keyboards.

In the realm of the smartphone, CNET reports that Samsung may be Apple’s biggest threat. Samsung’s line of smartphones is faster, has larger screens and is lighter weight than the iPhone. Apps to compete with iTunes such as Pandora and Spotify are also leveling the media availability playing field for Android users. Competitors are also on the trail of Siri, Apple’s voice recognition technology. Android already has similar apps and CNET reports that Microsoft’s TellMe won’t be far behind.

CNET’s Peter Yared touts the features of the Asus Zenbook, a formidable contender in the laptop market. Yared also believes that the Mac operating system isn’t that different from Windows 7 anymore.  “Yes, the Mac OS is easy to use and stable, but stand next to the Genius Bar at a Mac store and you will see that many people have many problems, just like Windows 7,” writes Yared.

While Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) sheer production volume gives it an edge when negotiating components, the company’s competitors are still finding ways to catch up. 2012 will be no time for Apple to rest on its laurels.