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iPad shipments drop for the first time

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iPad Air

Shipments of Apple's iPad range have dropped for the first time in the tablet line's history.

Apple is performing extremely well overall, with iPhone sales in particular going from strength to strength. But it's a different story on the iPad front.

According to analyst firm IDC, iPad shipments for the year will mark the first ever decline. That's despite the fact that the range of iPads on offer is wider than it's ever been, with the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 joining the swelling ranks this year.

It's claimed that Apple will ship 64.9 million iPad tablets in 2014, which represents a 12.7 percent drop from last year.

Of course, this actually reflects a wider slowing of the tablet market. While overall tablet shipments will have grown by 7.2 percent to 235.7 million this year, that's drastically lower than last year's 52.5 percent growth.

It shows that the still-young tablet market is actually shaping up to be more like the PC than the smartphone. People are leaving it longer to upgrade their tablet devices, with little incentive to buy a new one every one, two, or even three years.

Another factor, as pointed out by the original report, is that smartphones are being used for more of the tasks that would typically have been associated with tablets in previous years. With even Apple relenting in producing large-screen smartphones, tablets are perhaps seen as less essential than they once were.

Even the 2-in-1 hybrid tablet is only expected to hit 8.7 million units in 2014, though that is being attributed to continued hesitancy over Windows 8.

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