Today, when low-priced tablets crowd the market, the 9.7” iPad, massively controlling more than 90% of the market two years ago, seems to lose ground under the price-cutting gun fires from its rivals and shows no Sales King’s luster as old days. Apple’s launch of smaller and good-looking 7.85” iPad mini even aggravates the situation for the chubby iPad, further taking consumers’ attention away from it, and the recent sales can be described as gloomy and dime. WitsView, the research division of the global market intelligence provider 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 the long-gone competitiveness advantages.
According to WitsView’s research director Eric Chiou, the 9.7” iPad seems to hobble, but if the new iPad’s competitiveness is analyzed from the four reasonable aspects, including industrial design, product positioning, costs and prices, and market segmentation, the following development is not pessimistic. Firstly, for the improvement on product design itself, the next generation of iPad will apply the thin GF2 touch module of the same level as iPad mini and use the narrow bezel panel design to solve the issue of larger volume, thickness, and weight that have been criticized to gain a better balance for consumers in mobility and visual experiences. Secondly, it is to underline the product positioning, the long-beloved iPad 2 is expected to retire with honor with the reveal of new iPad. Without the interference from the product of the same size and similarity, the new iPad will more easily perform its market uniqueness and at the same time diminish the factors that confuse consumers’ purchase decision as many as possible.
Chiou believes that the third point is placed on the costs and prices as the new iPad has no plan to upgrade the resolution, to maintain the spec. of 2048x1536 is not new, but this spec. is not outdated when comparing to rival products of the same level.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 chances 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, the 7”-8” tablet market has only ashes that remained. Contrarily, in the segment of larger 9.7”-10.6”, in addition to that Android products’ price war hasn’t spread to this area, the previously highly- anticipated Microsoft’s Windows tablets have only poor sales on several factors such as prices and efficiency. For iPad, as long as the product design and pricing strategy are carried out appropriately, iPad can easily gain the right to serve the ball in the “Eden” of the large-sized tablet market.
Based on WitsView’s estimates, as the small-sized tablets remain mainstream, along with iPad facing its production transition, the 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 the shipment proportions between iPad and iPad will come to 50% to 50%. WitsView indicates that although the iPad family runs into some turbulence, there is no reason to be pessimistic for this year’s shipment. 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.