Growth prospects for the global tablet market are deeply connected with the iPad Mini 2 and iPad 5 release dates and the absence of which could further slow down the projected shipments by the end of 2013, a new report said.
Already, market research firm IDC is downgrading its market outlook for the sector, pushing down its previous 2013 shipment numbers of 229.3 million to 227.4 million units, according to reports by Business Wire.
The temporary downtrend is best explained by the anticipation generated by the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2, IDC said, echoing its previous assertion that Apple's decision to stick with Q4 2013 distribution of the two iPads is somehow hampering growth in the tablet computer sub-market.
Yet the report is also quick to note that the sector is actually exploding when compared to the 2012 shipment numbers, actually improving by close to 60 per cent.
By 2017, total tablet shipments will breach the 400 million mark and IDC attributes Apple's iOS tablets as the primary expansion force for the sub-market that the tech giant has created in 2010 when the first regular iPad was made available.
The interim slow down registered in the first half of 2013 suggests that tablet shoppers were hardly enticed by the menus served by Android tablet makers, headlined by Samsung's Galaxy Note 8.0 and the three variants comprising the Galaxy Tab 3 series.
It is understood that Google's Nexus 7 2013 build was not included in the IDC report as the device only started circulating in August.
The report also highlighted the emerging trend of low-cost tablets as the base market encounters rising challenges from cheaper brands, which have been surfacing due to the availability of low-priced components, plus the strengthening market muscle being flexed by hybrid smartphones or phablets.
With units exceeding the 6-inch screen size, phablets are blurring the line between small tablets and supersized mobile phones, analyst said. In fact, they pose a real threat to the compact tablet business model, the IDC report suggested.
But the 2013 growth path remains rosy for market players, an outlook that is especially true for Apple, which to date remains the solid market leader and the benchmark for Android rivals.
The tech giant is expected to close out 2013 with record numbers as analysts predict of renewed consumer interest on the iPad 5, widely reported to have assumed the overall Mini build - slimmed down and light plus gaining more power and screen prowess due to component upgrades and the introduction of the new iOS 7.
The iPad Mini 2, on the other hand, is expected to pick up where the first iPad Mini had left off, quickly selling tens of millions as tablet shoppers get enthralled by its supposed Retina display panel and faster processing chips. The likelihood is also strong that Apple is issuing a cheaper iPad Mini version to best compete with the dirt-cheap Android tablets.
Release date of the iPad 5 and the iPad Mini 2 is likely to happen by mid-November 2013 with the launch set in October or a few weeks after the Sept 20 rollout of the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C.
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