Apple iPad under threat as larger phones gain favour

Tablets like the iPad are losing favour with consumers who are opting instead for smartphones with larger screens, putting pressure on Apple to cater to changing tastes.

Research firm IDC lowered its 2014 forecast for tablet shipments on Thursday, saying they’ll climb 12% to 245.4-million units worldwide. That’s down from an earlier forecast of 260.9-million, and it compares with a growth rate of 52% last year.

Some gadget users are concluding that with a bigger phone, they don’t need the extra burden of carrying a tablet too. Phones like Samsung Electronics’s Galaxy Note 3, which sports a 5.7-inch (14.5-centimetre) screen, provide more space for watching videos and reading books, helping them compete with smaller tablets like Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad mini.

Larger smartphones, which IDC calls “phablets” since they combine features of phone and tablets, represented 10.5% of smartphone sales in the first quarter, up from 4.3% a year earlier, the Massachusetts-based research firm said.

Apple is working to catch up with the trend, developing new iPhone designs that have larger screens with curved glass, a person familiar with the plans said in November.

The iPhone and the iPad together represent about three- quarters of Apple’s total revenue, making it crucial for the Cupertino, California-based company to stay on top of consumers’ preferences. IPad sales volume dropped 16% last quarter from a year earlier, the steepest drop on record.

Android competition While Apple’s gadgets use a proprietary operating system, called iOS, Samsung and other device makers rely on Google’s Android platform. By letting a wide variety of manufacturers use Android, Google can encourage more experimentation with different designs than Apple can produce on its own, producing successes like the Galaxy Note – and plenty of failures.

Android phones, ranging from Samsung’s high-end models to cheap devices from little-known brands, will make up 80.2% of global shipments this year, IDC said on Wednesday. That compares with 14.8% for Apple’s iOS platform.

To reignite growth, Apple chief executive Tim Cook is seeking to expand beyond the company’s most iconic devices, announcing an agreement on Wednesday to acquire Beats Electronics LLC for $3-billion. The deal gives Apple a popular line of headphones and a nascent music-streaming service. – Bloomberg

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Built-in tools assist smartphone addicts

South Africans are among the top users of smartphones

Samsung Electronics posts record in Q3 despite smartphone struggles

The world's top maker of smartphones and memory chips has recovered from a series of setbacks

Mabe’s fingers in many pies

ANC spokesperson’s links to companies, apps and patents in controversial R49-million deal

Samsung tips record Q4 operating profit of more than $14-billion

South Korean telecom giant Samsung Electronics expects to post a record operating profit of more than $14-billion in the fourth quarter

It may be safer, but gay virtual sex is as tricky as the real deal

'Through video-call sex, I feel safe, I am at home and I just hope that - no screenshots are being taken'

Samsung’s explosive earnings see it overtake Apple

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics posted record-breaking earnings Thursday, putting it on course to better rival Apple's quarterly profits.

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Why anti-corruption campaigns are bad for democracy

Such campaigns can draw attention to the widespread presence of the very behaviour they are trying to stamp out — and subconsciously encourage people to view it as appropriate

Tax, wage bill, debt, pandemic: Mboweni’s tightrope budget policy statement

The finance minister has to close the jaws of the hippo and he’s likely to do this by tightening the country’s belt, again.

SA justice delays extradition of paedophile to UK

Efforts to bring Lee Nigel Tucker to justice have spanned 16 years and his alleged victims have waited for 30 years

Former state security minister Bongo back in court

Bongo and his co-accused will appear in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court in Mpumalanga over charges of fraud, corruption and theft

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday