On the eve of the Apple Event scheduled for tomorrow morning, Gartner rains down and states that the tablet trend is on a steep decline as growth has gone from 55% in 2013 to a measly 11% in 2014. While Apple's iPad sales have been down for the last two quarters, the tide could begin to turn as early as tomorrow if Apple could deliver something that brings back that original iPad magic.
Gartner's report states that "tablet sales growth is slowing in 2014 as new hardware buyers turn to alternative devices and existing users extend the lifetime of their tablets. Gartner, Inc. estimates that tablet sales worldwide will reach 229 million units in 2014, an 11 percent increase from 2013, representing 9.5 percent of total worldwide sales of devices in 2014. In 2013, tablet sales grew 55 percent." Its a troubling trend.
Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner notes in his report that "Some tablet users are not replacing a tablet with a tablet, they are favoring hybrid or two-in-one devices, increasing its share of the ultramobile premium market to 22 percent in 2014, and 32 percent by 2018." This confirms the observations that were made by Best Buy's CEO earlier in July.
As a side note, the Gartner report presented two charts. The one noted above represents a new round of operating system statistics. I don't know about you, but all I see is a mess. At least 95% of the Windows stat is really for the desktop while 95% of Apple's mix is all about mobile. So what are we to learn from this system crazy mix? Other than Microsoft missing the mobile revolution entirely to date, there's not much at all. For those wanting to review the entire Gartner report, click here.
Could we see a Surprise for the iPad Tomorrow?
In the end, most market analysts including Gartner give us the clear impression that this one time booming tablet market led by Apple is simply going to continually erode further as Phablets and two-in-one hybrids continue to win over upgraders. That could very well be the reality of the day.
Then again, Apple's CEO Tim Cook has viewed the drop in tablet sales as just a breather in the market or a bump in the road as he pounding the table last quarter that there was significant innovation on the way. I don't know if Cook was referring to the iPad Plus or iPad Pro (however they brand it) that's on the drawing board for early 2015 or something refreshing that we might expect to see roll out tomorrow.
Many Apple blogs have been forecasting all week just how boring the upgrades could be tomorrow. Did you know that the new iPad will feature an all-new Touch ID based Home Button? I think we all knew that was coming for the last year. How about a new camera upgrade? Well, there's always a new camera upgrade. Is that you snoring or is it me?
All that I'm reading about in the blogosphere amounts to nothing more than just a run-of-the-mill upgrade coming tomorrow. Will we actually see a surprise for the new iPad that could spark new sales and kick-off a new round of enthusiastic upgrades? I sure hope so, because "significant innovation" should mean a lot more than just a ho-hum upgrade.
Will Apple give us that something special for the iPad that could get us all cheering tomorrow? We'll know the answer to that in just a few hours. So get the popcorn ready and enjoy the show.