2023 wasn’t a good year for iPad. Shipments dropped 19.8% versus 2022, and Q4 was even worse, according to a market-research firm. This comes after Apple went over a year without releasing any iPad models.
But leaks point to multiple new iPadOS tablets coming soon.
No new 2023 iPad hurts shipments
Apple launched a new iPad Air in spring 2022 then that fall brought new versions of the iPad Pro and the iPad 10. And those were the last — Cupertino introduced not a single tablet since then.
This clearly had a severe effect on sales. The analysts at IDC report that Apple shipped 14.9 million tablets during the holiday shopping quarter of 2023 — down 29.3% from the same period of the previous year. And IDC also estimated that iPad shipments for all of 2023 were down just under 20%, as noted previously.
The analysts at rival market-research firm Canalys agree, in general, but are less pessimistic. They say 2023 iPad shipments dropped 24% year over year in the fourth quarter, and were down 11% for the whole year.
Estimates from analysts are necessary because Apple doesn’t reveal figures for tablet shipments. However, it does announce revenue totals, and for the December quarter of 2023, that total was $7.0 billion, a 25% year-over-year decline.
The last three months of the year are traditionally the strongest quarter for iPad, as it’s when holiday gift buying takes place. Apple hasn’t had a Q4 with tablet shipments this low since 2019.
Weak global tablet market
Apple is the 500-pound Gorilla of the global tablet market, shipping twice as many units as any of its rivals. So when iPad has a bad year, the whole market does too. Canalys reports the shipment total for the whole year from all tablet-makers dropped 10.3%, and IDC says the decline was 17.4%.
Apple wasn’t a standout. Both analysis firms agree that Samsung’s annual shipments went down over 10% while Lenovo’s dropped about 20%.
Looking ahead to 2024 iPad
The long dry spell without new tablets from Apple is apparently almost over. Leaks point to multiple iPads on the way this spring. That includes the first iPad Air with a 12.9-inch screen and a 13-inch iPad Pro with an OLED display.
iPad 11 and iPad 7 are supposedly on the docket for later in the year, also. It’s quite possible all these will push Apple’s 2024 tablet shipments up considerably.
Looking even farther ahead, Anuroopa Nataraj, a senior research analyst with IDC, said, “Technological advances around AI will likely focus more on the PC and smartphone for the next two years, but tablets will increasingly become part of that conversation.”