Apple iPad sales 'set to plummet'

Apple's iPad sales are set to plunge for the first time in the tablet's history, according to IDC analysts.

Apple will only have shipped 64.9 million iPads by the end of the year, a drop of 12.7 per cent compared to 2013, the analyst house's research found.

This decline appears against a backdrop of 7.2 per cent growth in shipments of all tablets to 235.7 million units.

Overall tablet growth has rapidly declined, however, with shipments previously jumping by 52.5 per cent between 2012 and 2013

This has been previously attributed to the difference in how consumers and businesses view tablet compared to smartphones, choosing to replace or upgrade them less often.

"The tablet market continues to be impacted by a few major trends happening in relevant markets," commented Ryan Reith, programme director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers.

"In the early stages of the tablet market, device lifecycles were expected to resemble those of smartphones, with replacement occurring every two to three years.

"What has played out instead is that many tablet owners are holding onto their devices for more than three years and in some instances more than four years.

"We believe the two major drivers for longer than expected tablet lifecycles are legacy software support for older products, especially within iOS, and the increased use of smartphones for a variety of computer tasks."

Other changes in the market detailed by the report are the rise of 'two-in-one' devices, tablets becoming thinner, prices lowering and an increase in the number of models available.

Android is by the far the most popular tablet operating system with 68 per cent market share, though Apple's iPads occupy 27.5 per cent of the market on their own. Windows tablets have less than 5 per cent share.

These figures fail to meet expectations from Gartner's PC market tracker back in October, which predicted that global tablet sales would rise by 11 per cent in 2014.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said: "The device market continues to evolve, with the relationship between traditional PCs, different form factor ultramobiles and mobile phones becoming increasingly complex."

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

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