Tablet computers have been discussed as early as the mid-20th century, but only became popular with the 2010 launch of Apple’s iPad. This quickly inspired rival offerings from Samsung Electronics and others powered by Google’s Android operating consumer. So-called ‘phablets’ refer to devices that are smaller than traditional tablets, but bigger than traditional smartphones.
IDC: Tablet shipments slow down with no new iPad
Worldwide shipments of tablet computers slowed down in the second quarter because Apple didn’t release a new model of its trend-setting iPad, research firm IDC said Monday.
Shipments totaled 45.1 million units in the April-June period, down nearly 10 per cent from the first three months of the year. Still the second-quarter total is up nearly 60 per cent from a year ago, a sign that the market continues to grow.
“A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors,” said Tom Mainelli, a research director at IDC. “With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors.”
Apple normally releases a new iPad in the spring, but it has moved toward updating products in the fall to take advantage of the lucrative holiday shopping season. That means people who want iPads may be holding out for a new model. Samsung and other rivals have released new tablet models this spring, but IDC says those launches didn’t get the spillover boost that a new iPad would have provided.
Mainelli said he expects weakness to continue in the July-September period, but tablet shipments should pick up again in the holiday quarter, when Apple and others are expected to release new products.
Besides a new iPad, Amazon.com Inc. is likely to refresh its Kindle Fire line, while Google Inc. is expected to come out with a new 10-inch Nexus model. The company released a new 7-inch Nexus last week.
Apple remains the leading maker of tablets, with 14.6 million shipped in the April-June period. But as disclosed in the company’s earnings report last month, shipments fell 14 per cent from a year ago. IDC says Apple’s market share fell to 32 per cent in the second quarter, compared with 60 per cent in the same period last year.
Samsung Electronics, maker of the Galaxy line of phones and tablets, saw shipments nearly quadruple to 8.1 million in the second quarter. That gave Samsung a market share of 18 per cent, up from 7.6 per cent a year earlier.
AsusTek Computer, which makes the Nexus 7 for Google along with its own branded tablets, was No. 3 with 2 million tablets. It was followed by Lenovo with 1.5 million and Acer with 1.4 million. Microsoft, maker of the Surface tablets, dropped out of the top five after coming in at No. 5 in the first quarter, according to IDC. Amazon also lost its top-five status. It had been No. 4 in the first quarter.
Here are Apple’s iPad releases since the tablet’s debut in 2010.
— iPad, April 3, 2010. Original model (announced January 27, 2010).
— iPad 2, March 11, 2011. Faster processor, thinner. Comes with two cameras for taking photos and video chatting (announced March 2, 2011).
— iPad (third generation), March 16, last year. Faster processor, much sharper screen and improved camera (announced March 7, last year).
— iPad (fourth generation), November 2, last year. Faster processor, faster Wi-Fi and new Lightning connector, matching what’s found in the iPhone 5.
— iPad Mini, November 2, last year. With 7.9-inch (20.07-centimeter) screen, instead of 9.7 inches (24.64 centimeters). Screen resolution is 1024 by 768 pixels, same as original iPad and iPad 2.