Digitimes Research: Apple refocuses on 9.7-inch iPad in 2H14

Jim Hsiao, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0

With Apple showing more aggressiveness in producing its new 9.7-inch iPad, its overall iPad shipments in the third quarter of 2014 are expected to return to the growth trend.

However, weakening demand for tablets in Europe and the US, the coming of large-size iPhones and the delay of the third-generation iPad mini are expected to impact iPad's shipments in 2014. Digitimes Research estimates the volume at lower than 70 million units, the first shipment drop for the device.

Apple's sixth-generation iPad entered into mass production in August and is expected to become available in early fourth quarter. The new iPad has no significant changes in exterior design, but adopts a direct bounding technology to reduce the gap between the cover glass and LCD, reducing the device thickness and display reflection, and enhancing transmittance.

Digitimes Research expects the new iPad to help iPad shipments return to the growth trend in the third quarter with their volume reaching 16.95 million units, up 8.7% on year. The 9.7-inch models will account for 58% of overall iPad shipments.

Since Apple does not plan to release a new iPad mini for 2014, the company's iPad shipments will lack some drivers for growth in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, dropping demand for high-end tablets in Europe and the US is also expected to cause tablet sales during the peak season in 2014 to be weaker than the previous years.

Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone, which is set to be released in the fourth quarter as well as the new iWatch, which is expected to become a popular gift choice for year-end shopping season and carry a similar price range as the iPad mini, are both expected to impact demand for the iPad mini.

Digitimes Research expects iPad shipments to reach only 22.5 million units in the fourth quarter, down 13.5% on year, while shipments in 2014 will drop 8.32% on year to only 69.4 million units, the first on-year drop since Apple released its tablet family.

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