Taiwanese publication DigiTimes has reported this week that one major cash cow by the tech giant appears to be losing steam. Both the iPad Air and the iPad Mini, said the same report, turned in figures that represent 16 per cent sales retreat for Apple.
And the situation is not getting rosy anytime soon as the report projected that by 2015, global tablet shipments will post a retreat, likely the first since Apple introduced the iPad in 2010 that also prompted other device vendors to follow Apple's innovation.
"The tablet industry will see its first shipment drop in 2015," said the DigiTimes report, citing unnamed supply chain sources.
Experts pointed to the growing consumer interest on supersized smartphones or phablets as the main culprit for the dip, which according to CNET is an alarming trend that market research firms like IDC have predicted before.
The shift by device shoppers from tablet computers to smartphones with oversized display panel is due to the increasing utilitarian value of phablets, the report said.
"Phablets ... are often adequate for tasks once reserved for tablets," CNET quoted the IDC report as saying.
It is therefore inevitable for Apple to enter the phablet market soon if only to dodge the negative impact of a diminishing interest for tablets. Also, releasing the jumbo-sized iPhone in the second half of 2014 will ensure that the company will have the legs to continue on the growth path even by the time the iPad lure starts waning by next year.
While the iPad and other tablet brands will not really become irrelevant too soon, DigiTimes hinted that the business will not be as profitable as before due to fierce price competition. The immediate result will be cutthroat price wars that could see the tablet sticker price plunging between $200 and $300.
And one way for Apple to protect its profit margin is the 2014 iPhone 6 phablet launch, as mentioned above, plus a host of new products that according to Tim Cook will begin materialising in the last quarter of year and onwards.
Experts look to wearable device or smartwatch as one serious consideration for many industry players. In fact, according to DigiTimes, "Google has already turned to focus on wearable devices."
It is expected too that Apple will follow suit with the rumoured iWatch, which will boast of stand-alone features and pairing with the iPhone, that analysts said is likely to commence mass production this July.
That should give ample time to go for a mid-September 2014 release date for the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 plus the iWatch and all three will be powered by iOS 8.