Apple's IPad sales keep falling

Toddler vs. iPad: Real life stress test
Toddler vs. iPad: Real life stress test

Despite only being on the market for five years, we might have already hit "peak iPad."

A new forecast by tech consultancy IDC predicts that iPad sales will fall this year and continue to slump through at least 2019.

Since iPad sales fell last year too, that means that 2013 might be remain the best year ever for the iPad ... at least for the foreseeable future.

IDC tablet analyst Jitesh Ubrani called the iPad "the weakest link" in the tablet market. He expects 2015 iPad sales to fall to 60.1 million units, down 5% from 2014. That would be the fewest iPads Apple sold since 2012.

IPad sales have shrunk for four straight quarters and in five of the past seven quarters. During Apple's record-setting final quarter of 2014, iPad was a noticeable weak point, with sales tumbling 18%.

Even as the entire tablet market slumps, the iPad has fared even worse than its rivals. Apple is forecast to command just under 26% of the tablet market this year, down from 29% a year earlier. By 2019, IDC expects the iPad's control of the market to fall to just 23%.

Tablets have become less popular as giant "phablet" phone sales have soared. Why buy an eight-inch iPad Mini when you can get a six-inch iPhone 6 Plus?

To combat the trend, many tablet makers are slashing prices and adding voice calling features to lure customers away from phablets. That is expected to help overall tablet sales grow about 2% this year -- a modest increase, but an increase nonetheless.

"Despite the growing popularity of phablets, there still remains a portion of the market that wants to use a larger device so they can tailor their experience to the appropriate screen size," said Ubrani.

Meanwhile, Apple has been rumored to be working on a 12.9-inch iPad, and it is expected to unveil it in the fall. Apple is looking for untapped markets for the iPad (after all, the iPad is still a $9 billion business), and a large version would likely appeal to business customers.

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