The iPad has had five consecutive quarters of negative shipment growth, and according to Apple’s supply chain, that’s not changing any time soon!
According to a new report coming out of Asia, Apple’s supply chain manufacturers expect iPad shipments to fall another 20 percent on-year in 2015 — and they’re pinning the blame on the increased demand for plus-sized smartphones.
The report notes that Apple’s suppliers are hurting from the collapse in the company’s iPad business. In particular, backlight and LCD supplier Radiant Optoelectronics saw a 37.2 percent drop in revenue in the first three months of 2015, while touch panel maker TPK witnessed a drastic 67 percent decline in its tablet production business — falling from 10 million the previous quarter to just 3 million this one.
If it really is the availability of larger phablet-sized phones which are hurting the iPad business (and this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that!), hopefully a larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro later this year could reverse that decline by further differentiating the iPad and iPhone product lines.
Interestingly, today’s report suggests that supply chain makers are expecting only a new 7.9-inch iPad, along with the rumored 12.9-inch model, in 2015. Since the 7.9-inch tablet is the iPad mini, this means the iPad Air would be replaced by whatever Apple decides to name its new large-screen device.
Personally, I don’t buy it. As seen by last year’s refreshes of both the iPad Air and the iPad mini, the Air remains Apple’s focus. If we lost either, I’d expect it to be the smaller mini, although I think Apple will likely keep all three.