Downturn in iPads promising for Apple's rivals: WitsView

TAIPEI - Shipping volume for Apple Inc.'s iPad tablet computer in the second quarter totaled 14.6 million units, down 25 per cent quarter-on-quarter, with market share receding to a new low of 35.5 per cent, according to a research institution report.

Research institute WitsView attributed the slumping sales of Apple's tablets devices to the higher retail price of the iPad mini, and the aging 9.7-inch iPad, which is nearing the end of its product cycle.

In addition, global shipments of tablets with displays larger than 7-inches, and resolutions above the WSVGA standard (1024×576 pixels or 1024×600) in the second quarter totaled at 41.1 million units, down 12.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter, said WitsView, who also attributed the decline to the fact that manufacturers are in a transitional period between product lifecycles, providing little consumer stimulus.

However, the report indicates that entry-level offerings of 7-inch tablet computers priced below US$130 by Asus and Acer are expected to weather through their pervading slumps, with shipping volume expected to grow by 60 per cent and 36 per cent respectively in the current quarter.

Concurrently, the report states that while Samsung's second quarter tablet shipment of 8.8 million units represents a slight decline from the previous quarter, the release of its 8-inch tablet drove the company's global tablet market share from 20.2 per cent to 21.5 per cent.

The report also stated that shipping volume for the so-called white-box tablet devices, or unbranded products originating from China, have likewise suffered in the second quarter, receding to 9.7 million units, down 7 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

WitsView expects sales to increase markedly in the third quarter, following the release of numerous highly anticipated products from notable manufacturers and brands such as Amazon, Google, and Apple, in addition to several 10.1-inch tablets set to be launched by PC makers. Tablet sales are expected to reach 49.6 million units, a surge of 21 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

Global sales of tablet computers in 2013 are predicted to reach 196.5 million units, of which 153 million units are branded products, with 43.3 million units being unbranded white-boxes.