"What? Me worry?"

Apple helped make the tablet form factor popular with consumers with the 2010 launch of the iPad. Over the past four years, sales have grown at an astonishing rate, making Apple’s iPad business second only to its cash cow iPhone.
However, things took a slight turn southward this year during Apple’s fiscal Q2. Apple “only” sold 16.35 million iPads during the quarter against analysts’ forecasts of 19.7 million. And in fiscal Q3, iPad sales were down again to 13.3 million units compared to 14.6 million for the same period in 2013.
At the time, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that he was still "very bullish about the future of the tablet market” and that "What's important to us is that customers are enjoying their iPads and using them heavily.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook [Image Source: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez]
In an interview with Re/code’s Walt Mossberg this week, Cook reiterated those comments, stating, “We couldn’t be happier with how we’ve done with the first four years of the iPad.”
“I’d call what’s going on recently a speed bump, and I’ve seen that in every category.”
It has been suggested by some that the rise of “phablet” devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (soon to be replaced by the Galaxy Note 4) have somewhat blunted the demand for tablets. But Apple will soon have a counter for that angle, as it will reportedly release a 5.5” iPhone 6 to go alongside the upcoming 4.7” model.
Mossberg surmises that customers simply don’t replace their tablets as fast as their smartphones, leading to upgrade cycles that are more in step with the PCs that many tablets have replaced. Mossberg explains:
So, after an epic explosion of sales since 2010, tablet owners are content to stand pat for awhile, and new customers will trickle in more slowly, because the early blistering rate of growth isn’t sustainable.
Apple could help reverse the sales slide with the release of slightly revamped iPad models this October that will include the usual iterative improvements (Apple A8 processor, Touch ID, 802.11ac wireless, etc.).  There is even talk of a 12.9” iPad Pro model which could launch in early 2015 to take on the Surface Pro 3 — Apple really needs to trot out its split-screen multitasking functionality if it choses to go down that path. According to Bloomberg’s sources, suppliers are already gearing up for production of the tablet.

In addition, Apple could see an uptick in enterprise adoption of the iPad thanks to its new collaborative efforts with IBM.
And Apple shouldn’t feel too bad about its recent iPad sales slump; the company is still raking in an enormous amount of revenue from its newest product category. According to, Apple’s iPad business alone brought in $5.89 billion in revenue during fiscal Q3 2014. That tally was more than the earnings of Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Groupon, and Tesla Motors combined.

Sources: Re/code, Bloomberg,

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