Apple Inc. continues to run at the top of both the tablet and smartphone markets, proving to the competition that it has plenty of staying power. Even so, Cupertino has to be a bit concerned about what the future will bring in regards to its popular tablet lineup. According to a recent report by IDC, the worldwide tablet market took another hit during the fourth quarter of 2015, with unit shipments declining 13.7 percent year over year.
When you look at 2015 as a whole, the numbers are not any more encouraging. During the 12 month period, total tablet shipments were 206.8 million, which is good for a 10.1 percent decrease from the 230.1 million units that were shipped in 2014.
Is Apple in Trouble?
While Apple remains top dog (more on this to come), there are some reasons for concern. Primarily, detachable tablets are on the rise as traditional devices continue to slow. Since the fourth quarter of the previous year, detachable tablets shipments more than double.
Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, shared the following thoughts:
“This quarter was unique as we had new detachables in the market from all three of the major platform players.’
But Don’t Forget the Apple iPad Pro
Even with some concerns over the growth of detachable tablets, meaning more competition, Apple has been able to hold onto its spot thanks to the strength of its lineup as a whole, anchored by the iPad Pro.
Ubrani added this:
“Despite lukewarm reviews, the iPad Pro was the clear winner this season as it was the top selling detachable, surpassing notable entries from Microsoft and other PC vendors. It’s also important to note that the transition towards detachable tablets has presented positive opportunities for both Apple and Microsoft.”
Apple remained the tablet market leader through the fourth quarter of 2015, even though Cupertino faced a year over year decline of almost 25 percent. Thanks to the launch of the iPad Pro, the company was able to fight off an overall decline in table revenues.
While Apple remains a heavy favorite to once again lead the market in 2016, Samsung is holding onto its second spot and hoping to eventually capsize the iPad maker. Unfortunately for Samsung, it did not perform much better than Apple last year, with a decline of 18.1 percent.
Samsung has the best chance of taking over the top spot because of its large tablet portfolio that spans a variety of screen sizes and price points. In other words, it has a tablet for almost every consumer.
Apple Inc. took a shot on the chin in 2015, but the company remains the tablet market leader. With the help of the iPad Pro and the growth of the detachable market, it will be interesting to see if this works for or against Apple over the next 11 months.