When Apple launched the iPad in 2010, it was supposed to be the new iPhone. And for a while it actually looked that way. Once again, Apple had taken a concept that others had tried before, applied its secret sauce to make it “magical” and once again it had worked. The iPad was an instant success, and in its wake, the whole tablet market took off. Within three years, worldwide tablet shipments increased more than tenfold, reaching 220 million in 2013.
That’s when things slowly started to go awry. First came the realization that people would use their (unsubsidized) tablets longer than they would use their phones. Then smartphones grew larger and larger, putting the need to buy an additional device into question for many consumers. 2016 marked the second consecutive year of decline for the tablet market, with global sales coming in roughly 25 percent short of peak sales in 2014.
Different from the situation in the smartphone market however, Apple has yet to lose its lead in the tablet market. According to IDC, the company sold 42.6 million iPads last year, beating its closest rival Samsung by 16 million units.
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