IDC today published an updated forecast for worldwide tablet shipments this year, predicting the segment will experience a “notable slowdown” with both iOS and Android expected to record a year over year decline in growth. While IDC notes that the majority of the 212 million tablets it expects to ship this year will be “pure slate tablets”, it does anticipate growth in the 2-in-1 hybrid tablet/laptop category, of which it’s apparently including the larger 12-inch+ iPad that Apple is expected to introduce later this year:
“Commercial segments will play a crucial role in the future of 2-in-1’s,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, Research Director, Tablets. “It will take some time but we expect that once IT departments are done evaluating Windows 10 and the awaited iPad Pro, they will start migrating some their portable PC and tablet installed base towards 2-in-1’s, which will accelerate the adoption of the form factor. So far, this category has been the led by Microsoft with its Surface product line. But with the arrival of the iPad Pro, the launch of Windows 10, which is better suited for the 2-in-1 form factor, and the introduction of Intel’s Skylake silicon, we expect a flurry of new devices to launch between now and December 2015.”
IDC seems to be including tablets over 10 inches in the 2-in-1 category, despite no proof that the expected 12-inch+ iPad will include a detachable keyboard beyond aftermarket options like the current iPad lineup. The report predicts the 2-in-1 category will grow to 86.5% to 14.7 million units this year and together with 10-inch+ tablets go from just 18.6% of the tablet market last year to an almost 40% share by 2019.
For this year, IDC predicts Android will hit 139.8 million units for a 66% market share (a -10% year over year shift), while iOS is expected to hit 54 million units for a 25.5% market share (a -14.9% YOY shift) by year’s end. The “Others” category will also move -15.8% year over year, according to IDC, while Windows devices, with 17.7 million units shipped and 8.4% market share, will grow 59.5% year over year. And here’s their outlook going into 2019:
Despite the overall drop in the tablet market, Tim Cook has addressed concerns over declining iPad sales in recent months reassuring investors that he’s “bullish about the future of the tablet market”. During the company’s recent fiscal Q3 2015 earnings call, for instance, Cook noted that the company’s partnership with IBM is one catalyst for growth for iPad in the enterprise and that more than 50% of the iPads are still selling to someone who is a first time tablet buyer.
Cook also commented on the market outside of the US, pointing out that “In the BRIC countries, iPad did extremely well. The growth was very high. China it was in the 50’s, the middle east it was in the 60’s. In the developed countries like the US, the market is clearly weaker there…” A new larger iPad Pro expected later this year (something Cook of course can’t talk about yet) could also be another big reason Cook is optimistic about the category.