Things aren’t looking good for Apple’s tablets. The IDC reports today that the iPad line, which accounted for 60.3 percent of tablet shipments last year, represents just 32.4 percent of the tablet market.
It would be easy to use those numbers as proof that Apple needs to introduce new products — an iPad mini with a Retina Display, perhaps — and that its competitors have begun to encroach on its territory. But the reality remains, the iPad is still an integral aspect of the tablet market, and Apple is not about to be devoured by Samsung or any of the many companies building competitive products.
Despite the gains posted by Samsung, Asus, and other manufacturers, tablet shipments actually fell between the first and second quarters of this year. Why? Well, to hear the IDC tell it, because Apple hasn’t yet released an update to the iPad or iPad mini:
A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors. With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that’s likely to continue into the third quarter. However, by the fourth quarter we expect new products from Apple, Amazon, and others to drive impressive growth in the market.
Never mind that Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab 3 product line in April and began shipping units in July. Or that Asus released the Fonepad in April. You’d think that releasing new products, especially when Apple hasn’t updated its own in nine months, would lead to an increase in shipments — apparently you’d be wrong. Even if the iPad isn’t selling quite as well as it was a year ago, its release and subsequent updates continue to affect the entire tablet market.
Combine that Apple’s decision to prioritize profit share over marketshare — that is, to compete by making money instead of by getting its devices into the hands of the most people no matter the cost — and you’ve got a device that sets an industry standard while simultaneously allowing its creator to operate a more sustainable business than its competitors.
There’s no denying that the iPad is down. But, at least according to the IDC, it’s taken the rest of the tablet industry down with it.