A more powerful iPad Mini with Retina display technology is destined to kill the 9.7-inch iPad, according to analysts, pointing to current trends that showed consumers are gradually favouring the more compact and portable 7-inch plus tablet class.
The numbers speak for themselves, Citi analyst Glenn Yeung told CNET, adding that the big-sized tablet servings, chiefly Apple's regular-sized iPad, are encountering stiff competition from their smaller rivals.
Mr. Yeung pointed to the irresistible allure exuded by the likes of iPad Mini, Nexus 7 from Google-Asus, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 from Samsung and the Kindle Fire HD from Amazon. These devices, he suggested, are very light to carry around and equally easy on the pocket while delivering the same amount of performance required by consumers.
Without anything new to present, iPad and other tablets resembling its size and functions will see gradual declines in the periods ahead, the Citi analyst offered.
"After analyzing the data, we have new concerns about the health of the 10-inch tablet market and, absent any material innovations (we do not count a Retina Mini or lighter/thinner iPad 5 among these), we remain concerned about Apple's ability to maintain market share," CNET reported Mr. Yeung as saying.
After enjoying near-total dominance in the tablet market it reinvigorated, Apple saw its shares shrinking to around 44 per cent as of January 2013, according to global research firm IDC.
The year 2012, it turned out, was the redefining moment for the tablet market when Kindle Fire, Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab started chewing away territories that were exclusive to Apple's iPad in the past three years.
Samsung's surge has been remarkable, now owning more than 15 per cent of the total pie, also indicating that the South Korean firm is steadily gaining traction in the market it also intends to grab from Apple.
Apple, however, remains ensconced in the top position thanks to the winning streaks clocked by the iPad since its first generation came out.
If ever the Apple tablet gets toppled, the killer will come from within, analysts said, pointing to the rising audience attracted by the smaller tablet.
It is expected that the bigger iPad will cede more of its turf to the iPad Mini as Apple engineers continue to improve on its current specs, which experts bemoan are generally underpowered when pitted to what buyers can get with the small Android tablet.
The iPad Mini 2, which reports said will be pushed out by Apple on Q3 2013, will show off better display capabilities with Retina likely included in the upcoming refresh. The technology was absent in the first version, which was meant to bring down the gizmo's retail price, per Apple's claim.
The second serving should also bring higher hardware features and possibly the iOS 7 that Apple intends to unleash this year.