iPad loses marketshare as tablet market shrinks

There's something strange going on with Apple's iPad lineup. During Apple's most recent earnings report, the company revealed that year over year sales of its iconic tablet dropped by a whopping 18%. Indeed, sales of Apple's iPad have been on the decline for quite some time now, prompting some to wonder if the tablet market as a whole is on a full fledged decline with no recovery in sight.

Though some believe that the tablet market is poised to bounce back at any moment, recently released data from IDC underscores that consumers simply aren't buying tablets the way they used to. And while Apple still remains the market leader, the overall tablet market is, in fact, trending downwards.

During the second quarter of 2015, there were over 44.7 million tablets shipped. In contrast, there were 48 million tablets shipped during the same quarter a year-ago. And seeing as how the tablet market is contracting at a slower rate than the iPad, Apple's share of the tablet market has naturally gone down as well.

Whereas Apple's iPad last year commanded 27.7% of the tablet market, it's marketshare this past quarter dipped down to 24.5%. While one or two bad quarters can be explained away by a variety of factors, the fact of the matter is that iPad sales have been declining for six straight quarters. That should clearly be cause for concern for the powers that be up at 1 Infinite Loop.

Looking ahead, one wonders if the upcoming iPad Pro and rumored iPad Air 3 and iPad Mini 4 will do anything to right the iPad ship. While previous iPad upgrades have focused on hardware almost exclusively, new iPad-friendly features in iOS 9 (i.e split screen functionality, keyboard shortcuts) might finally provide a software-based incentive for users to upgrade.

Broadly speaking, one of the issues Apple has encountered with the iPad is that the refresh cycle is more in line with traditional desktop PCs than it is with mobile phones. In other words, people tend to buy an iPad and use it for years on end, feeling no need to upgrade to a new model even once every 3 or 4 years.


Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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