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Op-Ed: The tablet hype is over and Apple probably can't do anything about it

Op-Ed: The tablet hype is over and Apple probably can't do anything about it

October 14, 2014

Back in 2010, the only place to get a first-generation iPad was at Apple retail stores and at select Best Buy locations. Today, iPads are sold at multiple locations and are rarely out of stock. At the same time, many are still trying to get their hands on an iPhone 6 Plus, nearly three weeks after it was first released alongside the iPhone 6.

I plan on buying a new iPad, as I do each year. However, for the first time, I’m only doing so because my job necessitates it. Otherwise, I’d probably be sitting this year out. I’m certainly not alone in this assessment.

As the following Statista infographic shows (using data from IDC), worldwide tablet sales have slowed and aren’t expected to improve anytime soon. At the same time, smartphone and phablet sales continue to rise.

Infographic: Tablets: The Hype is Over | Statista

What’s wrong? I’ve become convinced that consumers have finally figured out three truths about tablets.

First, not much changes from year to year to necessitate a yearly update. Second, iPads are much less mobile than iPhones, with some never leaving a users’ home. Couple this with the high build-quality, and upgrading isn’t necessary all that often. Finally, many have found that tablets aren’t essential in their everyday lives.

Nothing that Apple offers on Thursday at its iPad-centric media event is going to change this.

The “iPad Air 2” and third-generation iPad mini are both expected to feature an improved processor and camera. Each might be a little bit thinner than previous models. Touch ID and Apple Pay? These are nice additions, but more so on iPhones.

As a reminder, Apple’s event begins at 10 a.m. PDT on Thursday, Oct. 16. As usual, AppAdvice will provide live coverage.

Are you planning on upgrading your iPad? If so, which model do you currently have? Leave your comments below.

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