Mobile Technology

Shrinking demand for tablets, but iPad is still on top

Thanks in part to the lowered price of the refreshed entry-level iPad, Apple maintains its lead of the global tablet market
Thanks in part to the lowered price of the refreshed entry-level iPad, Apple maintains its lead of the global tablet market
View 2 Images
Thanks in part to the lowered price of the refreshed entry-level iPad, Apple maintains its lead of the global tablet market
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Thanks in part to the lowered price of the refreshed entry-level iPad, Apple maintains its lead of the global tablet market
12.9-inch iPad Pro with keyboard attachment
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12.9-inch iPad Pro with keyboard attachment

Global tablet sales dropped 9.3-percent over the past year, as the market presented fewer new slate-style flagships and an increased trend toward 2-in-1 style convertible PCs. However, industry analysts forecast that Apple will remain on top, thanks to its lower-priced recently refreshed iPad and the 10.5-inch model rumored to be forthcoming.

In the first quarter of 2017, Apple took 27.9-percent of the tablet market share (in terms of global shipments) followed by Samsung with 19.1-percent, Huawei with 6.6-percent, Lenovo with 6.4-percent and Amazon with 6.3-percent. Apple's 27.9 percent represents 8.92 million iPads shipped in Q1 of 2017 – down from 10.3 million shipped in Q1 2016.

Neither the shrinking demand for tablets nor Apple's leading role in this area is a surprise, considering that iPads were the first competitive entry into the tablet market, and that "iPad" is nearly an eponymous moniker for tablets of any make or model. However, iPads – especially the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch Pro models – have come under fire recently for their lack of pro features. Without expandable storage, expansion ports, or a full desktop operating system, they lack some key features of their main competitors.

12.9-inch iPad Pro with keyboard attachment
12.9-inch iPad Pro with keyboard attachment

But analysts believe Apple will continue to enjoy a place at the head of the table, in part due to momentum, but also thanks to the lowered price (US$329) of its latest model. We believe that Apple took a step in the right direction lowering the buying threshold, but as far as the rumored 10.5-inch edition, we'll hold our speculation until more details emerge. Last year, reputable KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo hinted at fetching features like a nearly bezel-less screen, boosted internals and a redesigned chassis, but it's been some time since those details were elucidated.

Source: TrendForce and IDC via 9to5Mac

1 comment
neutrino23
It remains to be seen what will become of the tablet market. Sales are falling but use and customer satisfaction are very high. It may be that there was a large pulse of sales at the beginning and that because of a long replacement cycle the yearly sales rate may be somewhat low. Phones get replaced about every two years, but TVs get replaced about every eight or nine years.
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