Apple iPad sales could see first year-over-year decline

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Android continues to lead the tablet operating system market

In Part 4 of this series, we looked at the prospects for Google, Inc.’s (GOOG)(GOOGL) new smartphones and tablets. We learned that tablet market growth could slow down to 7.2% this year. At the same time, market research firm IDC is predicting that sales of Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPad could fall for the first time on a year-over-year basis. A report from IDC also predicts that Google Android will continue to lead the tablet operating system market for the foreseeable future.

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The chart below shows how Android’s share is projected to decline from 67.7% in 2014 to 64.0% in 2018. It also shows how the iOS share is projected to decline from 27.5% to 24.5% during the same time period. The main beneficiary of this lost market share is expected to be Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT) Windows. IDC predicts that its market share will increase from 4.6% in 2014 to 11.4% in 2018.

Tablet market share forecast

Why Apple iPad sales could decline this year

Let’s talk about iPad. Apple iPad sales have been declining for the last few quarters now. So really, IDC’s prediction doesn’t come as a surprise. In the last quarter, Apple attributed this problem to the tendency of people to hold on to iPads for a long time, which has led to a longer upgrade cycle.

Although Apple is seeing some momentum for iPads in enterprises, and it also forged a partnership with IBM (IBM) a few months ago, the company can’t stop the decline in iPad sales. Apple did launch the upgraded iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 a few days ago, but these are minor updates at best. Unless Apple does something revolutionary, it’s unlikely to revive iPad sales. One revolutionary idea might be to introduce a 12.9-inch iPad.

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