A new report from global market intelligence provider Trendforce notes that the 9.7-inch iPad, which controlled more than 90% of the tablet market two years ago, seems to be losing ground under price-cutting salvos from its rivals and shows none of the Sales Kings luster it did in the old days. Apple’s launch of the smaller and very popular 7.85 iPad mini even aggravates the situation for the chubby iPad, further enticing consumers’ attention away from it, with its recent sales performance presentng a gloomy outlook. WitsView, the research division of TrendForce, indicates that although the 9.7 iPad is in a defending position but, with the new generation product showcase in Q3, is likely to recover its reputation and regain its faded competitiveness advantages.
According to WitsView’s research director Eric Chiou, the 9.7 iPad seems to be hobbling along right now, but if the new iPad’s competitiveness is analyzed from four reasonable aspects, including industrial design, product positioning, costs and prices, and market segmentation, the outlook is not pessimistic. Firstly, for the improvement on product design itself, the next generation of iPad will apply the thin GF2 touch module similar to the screen used in the iPad mini along with mini-style narrow bezel panel design to solve the issue of larger volume, thickness, and weight that have been criticized, which should gain a better balance for consumers in mobility and visual experience. Secondly, turning the focus on product positioning, the long-beloved iPad 2 is expected to retire with honor with the release of the next-generation full-size iPad, and Trendforce predicts that without the interference of a lower-priced the product of the same size and similarity of features, the new iPad will more easily achievements-establish its market uniqueness and at the same time diminish factors that confuse consumers’ purchase decisions.
Chiou believes that the third point is placed on the costs and prices, as the new iPad will not upgrade screen resolution, and will maintain the current Retina grade spec. of 2048 x 1536, which is not outdated when compared with rival products of the same level. At the same time, it gains effective controls on panel yields and costs, and once the cost advantage is reflected to the selling price, iPad has more opportunity to revive consumers’ desire to buy with its more affordable price. The last key point depends on the market segmentation, after the weary bombing of low-priced products one after another, Chiou says the 7-8-inch tablet market leaves only ashes remaining. Contrarily, in the larger 9.7-10.6-inch segment the entry of Android products hasn’t resulted in a price war, and the highly- anticipated Microsoft Windows tablets have acheived only poor sales due to several factors such as prices and efficiency. For iPad, as long as the product design and pricing strategy are carried out appropriately, it can easily re gain the right to serve the ball in the Eden of the large-sized tablet market, Chiou contends.
Based on WitsView’s estimates, as the small-sized tablets remain mainstream, along with iPad facing its production transition, full-size iPad shipment in H1 2013 will clearly lower than iPad mini while the two hold a ratio of 35% to 65%. However, the situation will change in the second half of the year as the new iPad will modify the competitiveness for the 9.7 product, and shipment proportions between iPad and iPad will come closer to to 50%-50%. WitsView indicates that although the iPad family runs into some turbulence, there is no reason to be pessimistic for this year’s shipment performance. It is expected to see an overall shipment volume as high as 82.1 million units, and in addition to the great performance of a 25% annual growth, it will reclaim the half of the brand tablet market.