iPad Seen as 'Weakest Link' in Stagnating Tablet Market
IDC on Thursday reduced its five year forecast for worldwide tablet shipments following the tablet market's first year-over-year decline in the fourth quarter. The research firm estimates that 234.5 million tablets will be shipped during 2015, representing marginal growth of 2.1% from 2014.
Android is expected to remain the market leader among platforms throughout the course of the forecast, whereas the iPad is predicted to be the "weakest link" and see its volume share of the market continue to decline in 2015. IDC believes that iOS will drop from its present 27.6% market share to 23% through 2019.
The research firm also estimates that Microsoft could see its worldwide tablet market share nearly triple from 5.1% today to 14.1% market share in 2019 on the strength of Windows 10. IDC research director Jean Phillippe Bouchard claims Microsoft will slowly gain a foothold by delivering a consistent experience across all devices and platforms.
"Microsoft is doing a lot of good things right now and we believe the launch of Windows 10 later this year will not only have a significant impact on Microsoft's share of the market, but on the industry as a whole," said Bouchard, Research Director, Tablets. "There is an appetite for a platform that can provide a productivity experience that remains consistent across multiple form factors and device types, and we believe Microsoft is well positioned to capture some of that demand."
iPad momentum fell flat in the fourth quarter as overall tablet market growth continues to decline. iPad sales have declined for four consecutive quarters, and Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri cautioned investors during its latest earnings call that iPad sales are unlikely to see a dramatic year-over-year improvement in the near future. Nevertheless, it is rumored that Apple could have two new iPad in the works in an attempt to reinvigorate tablet sales.
First and foremost, Apple is expected to release the much-rumored "iPad Pro" later this year with a larger 12.9-inch screen and faster A8X processor. Meanwhile, a questionable rumor from last week claims that the company may release an iPad mini 4 with an A8 processor and 802.11ac Wi-Fi in the near future, after some users expressed disappointment that Touch ID was virtually the only new feature on the iPad mini 3.