BERLIN: If we compare the iPad with its rivals, the tablet computer has become one of the most successful consumer electronic products ever. Apple has sold more than 210 million iPads since the device’s 2010 debut, about double the rate of iPhone sales in its first four years. The boom has helped the electronics industry make up for the drop in sales of desktop and laptop PCs. Suddenly, though, the market is slowing down.
So why are sales dropping? I think the reason is simple, and a tribute to the evolution of the tablet. The fact is, current tablets are well-made and fill owners’ needs nicely. They do what the owner wants, simply and enjoyably, and the hardware is very solid.
Also at play here is how fast the tablet space exploded. Sales have been huge, and odds are most prospective tablet buyers have already bought at least one. Factor in the lack of upgrade purchases and sales almost have to go down.
This applies to both Android tablets and iPads. They are good devices that owners find to be just what they need. This has the undesirable effect (for tablet makers) that when the next generation model is released, owners feel no need to upgrade. The new model may have better hardware inside, but they do the same things the older model can do.
Tablets can’t easily replace PCs when it comes to crunching a lot of numbers, writing long reports, or making presentations. Demand is still growing for inexpensive tablets, notably some models from Samsung, Lenovo, and Asus, used mostly for watching video.
When the iPad was launched back in 2010, it was an instant hit and because it was homogeneous in many ways to a smartphone, there was a postulation that it would fall into a homogeneous upgrade cycle — an incipient slate every two-to-three years.
However what IDC’s data withal shows is that, for the moment at least, consumers are still cold on Windows-powered 2-in-1 contrivances. Shipments are only expected to total 8.7 million units in 2014, which is just 4% of the total tablet plus 2-in-1 market.