Naysayers and doubter, take note. Despite the rather mixed reviews and reception, Apple’s biggest tablet yet actually ended up as the Q4 2015’s top selling tablet. And as much as Microsoft may want to deny it and even ridicule it, Apple’s iPad Pro managed to outrank Microsoft’s Surface tablets, once considered to be the top of the class. That said, the worldwide tablet market is still on a decline, but salvation might come from the new breed of detachables that are taking the market by storm.
The iPad Pro is definitely one impressive kit, but, like any Apple product, it has its share of detractors. Some have ridiculed Apple’s U-turn on gigantic tablets and styluses, while others have lambasted the exorbitant retail prices. Those criticisms, however, might not matter that much, if shipment numbers are to be accounted for. The last quarter of 2015 saw the productivity-focused tablet outsell even crowd favorite Surface tablets, keeping Apple at the top of the food chain and offsetting disappointing sales of its other iPad tablets.
In the general scheme of things, however, no one really won last year save for but a few. Tablet shipments were down by 13.7% compared to the same quarter in 2014, from 76.4 million units to 65.9 million. In terms of the whole 2015, shipments went down by 10.1%, from 230.1 million in 2014 to 206.8 million last year. Even Apple took a large hit, down by 24.8%, despite the iPad Pro’s success.
There were, however, some exceptions. Amazon, in particularly, was the biggest winner, seeing its share rise up by 175.7%, putting it at 3rd in the world shipment scale. This was attributed to the holiday shopping spree of Amazon’s $50 tablets. Huawei’s numbers also skyrocketed by 124.6% though it still remains at the 5th place.
One interesting trend that IDC notes, which is also evidenced by the iPad Pro’s performance, is that a new breed of tablets are overtaking the tablet market, despite the overall tablet scene taking a downward turn. Detachables, like the iPad Pro and the Surface, have become quite the hit, almost quadrupling in shipments from the last quarter of 2014 to the last quarter of 2015. This would seemingly confirm our forecast of tablets, as well as users’ mindsets, transitioning to more productive forms, even PC replacements, which could help pull the tablet market out of the quagmire.