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New iPad Pro might not be enough to save Apple’s declining tablet sales

Published May 5th, 2015 7:45AM EDT
iPad Pro and iPad Mini 4 Launch
Image: Apple Inc.

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As recent quarters have shown, Apple’s tablet sales aren’t as spectacular as they used to be, yet the company is still selling millions of iPads each quarter. And sales aren’t expected to pick up anytime soon, a new report from Digitimes says. According to sources from Apple’s supply chain, iPad shipments will be down over 20% in 2015 compared to last year, even though Apple is expected to launch new tablet versions this year, including a “revised” 7.9-inch iPad mini 4 and a bigger 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

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Supply chain sources mention a “weak tablet demand in the market,” saying certain components suppliers are already seeing sequential drops in shipments for the first quarter of the year, and are shifting product strategies to address demand for large-sized smartphones and tablets for 2015.

Local suppliers are seeing significant product shipments and revenue drops, with Digitimes saying lower 9.7-inch iPad sales may be particularly responsible for declines for several companies that provide tablet-related parts including Radiant Optoelectronics, Coretronic and TPK.

In the first quarter of the year, Apple sold 12.62 million iPads, an impressive number by itself. However, that’s also a 23% drop compared to the same period last year that seems to be in line with Digitimes’ prediction.

“We’re clearly seeing cannibalization from iPhone and, on the other side, from the Mac,” Tim Cook said about iPad sales during Apple’s recent earnings call. “Of course, as I’ve said before, we’ve never worried about that. It is what it is. That will play out. At some point it will stabilize. I’m not sure precisely when but I’m pretty confident that it will.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.