The iPhone is Apple’s golden boy; the iPad, not so much.
For the first time, iPad sales and those for the worldwide tablet market have dropped year over year, according to a new survey from market research firm IDC.
Through the end of December 2014, iPad sales dropped 17.8 percent year over year to 21.4 million units. At Samsung, things were just as bad, as tablet sales dropped 18.4 percent, to 11 million units.
For the quarter, Apple’s share of the tablet market stood at 28.1 percent, compared to 14.5 percent for Samsung. Lenovo (4.8 percent), Asus(4 percent), and Amazon (2.3 percent) followed. A significant 46.2 percent of worldwide tablet sales were for devices from other providers.
According to Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, IDC:
Although Apple expanded its iPad lineup by keeping around older models and offering a lower entry price point of $249, it still wasn’t enough to spur iPad sales given the excitement around the launch of the new iPhones. Meanwhile, Samsung’s struggles continued as low-cost vendors are quickly proving that mid- to high-priced Android tablets simply aren’t cut out for today’s tablet market.
Last week, Apple announced it had sold a record 74.5 million iPhone units between October and December 2014. At the same time, sales of Apple’s tablet line fell for a fourth quarter in a row.
In trying to explain the iPad’s slide to investors, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted “There’s probably some level of cannibalization that’s going on, with the Mac on one side and the phone on the other.” At the same time, he reminded folks that the iPad remains the top-selling tablet line in the world.
“Usage is six times our nearest competitor. Usage measured in Web browsing is like 71 percent of total tablets. Also the commerce taking place across the iPad is enormous. Essentially over 80 percent of the commerce on tablets is taking place on iPad,” he said.
Though Cook acknowledged that there would be no “miraculous change” in short-term iPad sales, he did suggest that future growth could come from business sales.
He explained, “I think the partnership with IBM and the work that we have going on in the enterprise [sector] is profound, I think we’re really going to change the way people work.”
In July, Apple and IBM announced a groundbreaking new partnership that brings IBM services to iOS devices and much more. The first wave of IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions arrived on the market in December.
Cook noted that new iPad products were in the pipeline. However, he didn’t mentioned the long-rumored 12.9-inch “iPad Pro,” which could arrive later this year.
As I noted previously, I think Apple would be wise to introduce a larger iPad — while also ditching the iPad mini line, which seems to have been compromised by the arrival of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Nonetheless, I still believe that the bulk of iPad sales will revolve around a 9.7-inch model.
I’m not the only one at AppAdvice who wants to see Apple release a larger iPad. Daniel Celeste recently published an op-ed, Why Apple should give us an ‘iPad Pro’ with a yucky stylus.
First introduced in 2010, the iPad line currently consists of the 9.7-inch iPad Air and iPad Air 2, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3.