Tablet sales will flatline much sooner than expected, says IDC

iPad mini retina display. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The iPad mini’s lifespan could be a snuffed out thanks to the iPhablet . Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has a proud tradition of cannibalizing its products before someone else does, but in the case of the iPad mini, Cupertino might start eating its rotting corpse as soon as the 5.5-inch iPhablet is announced.

The latest projections from IDC claim that tablet sales are starting to level off even faster than expected with only 245.5 million units forecasted to sell in 2014 – a palty 12.1% year-over-year growth rate after tech companies just feasted on 51.8% YOY in 2013.

During Apple’s last earnings call Tim Cook boasted that iPad is the fastest selling product in Apple history, but IDC gives two major reasons why that could soon change:

1) Tablet owners aren’t upgrading to new devices as often as anticipated.
2) The rise of phablets are causing people to second guess the need for a tablet altogether.

Phablets are the fastest growing segment in the smartphone sales market, commandeering 10.5% of the market by the first quarter of this year, after holding less than half that the year prior. They now account for 30.1 million units shipped.

Microsoft is expected to benefit from the popularity of larger thanks to the release of its Surface Pro 3.  IDC projects the company’s tablet marketshare will double by 2018.

That’s not the best news for Apple, which has seen iPad sales skyrocket over the last three years before declining for the first time year-over-year last quarter. Luckily, the company is rumored to have a 5.5-inch iPhone in its back pocket that could launch as soon as September.

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Social Media Editor. Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, but now spending his days in Phoenix, Arizona, he wastes most of his time eating burritos and reading Spanish romance novels. Twitter: @bst3r.

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