Based on Data gathered by IDC, Citi believes that the iPad business is in the midst of a serious slow down, if not downright fall in certain regions in the world. For instance the IDC numbers suggest that the iPad fall by 9% in the USA, and by 26% in Japan, while it grew by 17% in Europe, which brings the worldwide growth for the 4th quarter 2012 to 1.8%. Citi compares this to a 111% growth in the same period for the year 2011. It is fair to say that IDC’s numbers are contested and can’t be independently verified by Ubergizmo at this time.
Although I would no say that the iPad business is “collapsing” like Business Insider did, there are probably several reasons to that, starting with the apparition of much cheaper tablets, which are not only affordable, but also quite good in absolute terms. The Google Nexus 7, and the new Kindle HD are quite decent and priced much more aggressively than the iPad. Even in the 10″ range, the iPad has been technologically displaced by the Google Nexus 10, which is also priced aggressively and has a better display and a more modern processor core technology.
The rise of large smartphones such as the Galaxy Note 2 and overall higher battery capacity may also be an important factor for some users. For example, I used to carry an iPad during CES to avoid depleting my smartphone battery. Now, I use a “Phablet” (5.4″ smartphone) with a 3100mAh battery and don’t feel the need to have a tablet with me anymore.
But whatever the reasons, one thing seems inevitable: just about every Apple competitor can now propose good alternatives at lower prices, which means that sooner or later, Apple will be hit by lower gross margins, possibly along with lower revenues. Obviously, Apple is working hard to maintain its position, but it’s just very hard since Google, Amazon and even Samsung all have alternative businesses that bring big money while they are fighting hard in the hardware space. Apple does not.