If you hear the way financial analysts talk, the iPad is just about to crash-and-burn and our landfills will be piled with tablets within the decade. Sales of the iPad have declined significantly in the past year. Research firm IDC determined that Apple captured only 26.9 percent of the market share in the third quarter of 2014, a nine percent decline from a year ago.
That does not mean the death toll for the iPad, though. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook recently told Re/code in an interview that sales slumps are nothing new in the tech world. “I’d call what’s going on recently a speed bump, and I’ve seen that in every category.”
During Apple’s third quarter conference call, Cook also noted that the tablet market is still very young, leaving much room for innovation. In other words, things are not going downhill in terms of tablet sales.
One could argue that tablets have rescued the PC market in terms of sales. In 2011, tablets outsold netbooks and are now being lumped into the PC category. By the end of 2013, tablets made up nearly 50 percent of worldwide PC computer shipment.
Maybe we should be thinking of the iPad more like a computer and less like a smartphone. That is, people aren’t buying a new iPad every two years like they do with the iPhone. My mom still has an iPad 2 and has no interest in replacing hers. Most of my friends that have purchased their first iPad of any generation have never mentioned anything about upgrading to a new one. These are people who upgrade their iPhone every two years like clockwork.
The tablet is a different beast. Although it is mobile, the iPad is a household device like a PC. Even in its infancy, the device was technologically advanced enough to maintain relevance four years later.
If we are to think of the iPad as a mobile computer and not a smart device, the market is doing exactly what it should. I would predict that this fall might be one of Apple’s biggest in terms of iPad sales, as first and second-generation tablet owners are just about ready to upgrade.
Cook’s suggestion that the decline in iPad sales is little more than a speed bump makes a whole lot more sense than financial analysts’ prediction that this is the end for the tablet market.