Before Apple’s stock price soared to even greater heights this week thanks to strong iPhone sales, growing services revenues, and rumors of spectacular devices to come, we got the bad news about iPad sales. During Apple’s quarterly sales call two weeks ago, we learned that sales were down 19% percent and revenue down 22% over last Q1, meaning not even the impressive iPad Pros have been able to overcome the forces of market saturation, slow upgrade cycles, and the encroachment of large screen smartphones.
Tim Cook keeps telling us that Apple remains committed to the platform, and to their credit, Apple has kept adding form factors and features to the lineup (and we hear more are on the way). However, the iPad’s glory days seem a distant memory, and it is now clearly a secondary device to the company’s true money maker- the iPhone.
Well here’s some good news for Apple and other leading tablet vendors, and some bad news for Steve Ballmer and everyone else who’s still in denial about the Post-PC era. As Apple Insider reports, a new NPD DisplaySearch report forecasts that shipments of tablets in 2013 will far outstrip shipments of notebook PCs. And that chart above shows the lead for tablets just getting bigger in the next 4 years.
Tablet PC shipments are expected to reach more than 240 million units worldwide in 2013, easily exceeding the 207 million notebook PCs that are projected to ship, according to NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report. In a market that has been dominated by one major player, Apple, shifting market dynamics are creating the opportunity for a greater variety of choices, which will drive shipment growth in 2013 to 64% Y/Y.
The report also says that smaller, 7-8 inch, tablets like the iPad mini, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire and others will grab the lion’s share of the tablet market this year – taking over from the original iPad 9.7 inch as the top form factor.
My finger in the wind take on this is that both those predictions are likely to prove accurate. I know my own feelings mirror those pretty well. I’ve been a MacBook Pro user for years but for a long while now it has only been used like a desktop computer. My iPad has long ago replaced the MBP as my portable computer. It can’t do everything the MacBook Pro can of course, but it does more than anything to keep me productive when I’m out and about or on a road trip. So now that my MBP is getting more than a little long in the tooth I’m switching to an iMac.
I’m also finding that I spend a lot more time now with my iPad mini than I do with my iPad 3. The reaction to the iPad mini that I see from friends, family and anyone I get talking to in a coffee shop is nearly always very positive. It’s generally along the lines of ‘Wow, it’s the iPad but much lighter’ and ‘I want’.
What do you all think of the NPD report?