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Monday, August 5, 2013

With No New iPad, Tablet Market Takes a Dip

Last fall, Apple introduced both the fourth generation of its popular iPad tablet and a new, mini version. Tech industry researchers figured the double release would mean no new iPads to lift Apple’s sales in the first half of 2013, as had been the case in other years.

But what was harder to anticipate was that when Apple changed the typical release date of its own product, it also caused a hiccup in the sales of its competitors’ tablets.

IDC, the research firm, said on Monday that manufacturers shipped 45.1 million tablets worldwide in the second quarter, down 9.7 percent from the first quarter. By comparison, tablet sales in the second quarter of 2012 jumped 18.7 percent from the first quarter of that year.

Apple, not surprisingly, posted a drop in tablet sales. But here’s the unexpected part: Samsung Electronics, the No. 2 tablet maker, and Asus, No. 3, also had small decreases in shipments compared to the first quarter, according to IDC.

That’s a sign of how influential the iPad remains in the tablet market: Even if consumers are choosing a tablet made by a different company, the release of a new iPad is what gets people thinking about tablets in general.

“A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors,” Tom Mainelli, a research director at IDC, said in a statement. “With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that’s likely to continue into the third quarter.”

But tablet sales still showed stark growth when compared with last year. Sales of tablets increased 59.6 percent when compared with the second quarter of 2012.

Apple hasn’t introduced a major new product in nine months, but Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has said to expect “amazing new products” in the fall and across 2014.

A new iPad is expected this year, which will probably please Apple’s investors and perhaps even its competitors.