Experts Predict Holiday Sales Dip for Apple iPad

Dennis Faas's picture

It would seem all the pressure these days is on Microsoft and PC makers to put out a Windows 7 tablet that can rival the popular Apple iPad. But recent reports from industry analysts suggest iPad sales could take a dip this holiday season, primarily because consumers are expected to reign in spending.

The report comes from Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar, who predicts that recent iPad estimates for the fourth quarter -- pegged at 6 million units -- are too high. Kumar says both Apple and other tablet producers, including Samsung, will probably fail to meet such estimates. (Source:

MacBook Air, Consumer Tightness Cited as Problems

Kumar points to several reasons for the projected sales disappointment. He notes that Apple's new MacBook Air, a sub-$1,000 11.6-inch super-netbook, will hurt sales of the $500 iPad. The Air's more traditional design could push consumers on-the-fence about an iPad towards the more expensive option. Of course, it's unlikely Apple will complain about that.

However, more concerning is Kumar's other suggestion: that the tablet market is in for at least a slight decline. They're probably not in for a big dip, like netbooks have experienced this year, but the slide could be significant.

Not a 'Must-Have' Product?

"We do not see Tablets go the way or netbooks," Kumar noted, adding "But if current trends continue, the Tablet market may not end as much more than iPads or a tweener product between smartphones and next-generation thin-and-light notebooks a la MacBook Air." (Source:

The cannibalization of the iPad by the MacBook Air could be an indication of a larger problem for tablets: that they're just not super-necessary products. "It's a nice-to-have product, for those of us who don't have a budget, but is it a must-have product? I don't think so," Kumar said.

Keep in mind that Kumar is just a single analyst, and other, equally qualified experts have predicted overall growth for the tablet market in the next few years. However, it is possible the expansion could be slower than some of us expected.

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