Apple is the undisputed winner of the tablet race... for now. Since launching its iPad, Apple has dominated the market, and it has what COO Tim Cook recently called "the mother of all backlogs" on the latest version of the iPad. At the same time, none of the aspiring "iPad killers" has made much of a dent. Will any tablet maker ever beat Apple?

Apple is untouchable: The iPad is winning because Motorola, HP, Acer, and the other tablet rivals are stuck "playing by netbook rules," says John Biggs at CrunchGear. But cutting corners to sell a chintzy "second computer" for cheap doesn't work in the tablet world: Tablets are expensive to make, and upscale Apple created the market. Now, "Apple is so far ahead in terms of sales, popularity, and usability that everyone else is, in a word, flummoxed."
"Why can't anyone make a popular tablet?"

The iPad's reign will end: "No one is ever the king forever," says Mike Norris at Gadgetsteria. And "the iPad’s death grip on the tablet sphere" will loosen once rival tablet makers focus more effectively on software. On paper, the Motorola XOOM and BlackBerry PlayBook should be trouncing the iPad. But pick any iPad rival up and play with it for a while and the shortcomings become clear: Operating system and lack of good apps. But one day, the rivals will catch up.
"iPad 2: Still the King"

Beating Apple will take a total strategy rethink: No other MP3 player has caught up with Apple's iPod, says Tim Bajarin in PCMag. If Motorola, RIM, Sony, and HP/Palm want to beat Apple, they have to understand the secret of its success: Total control of the "overall user experience," from hardware and software to services and ecosystem. Some of Apple's rivals hold a few of those cards, but you're never going to beat the iPad with half a deck.
"What will it take to really challenge Apple?"