Canalys beancounter Tim Coulling said that it was the sharpest decline ever and was on account of Apple trying “to run down” its iPad inventory.
He said that this was a smart move as tablet stock in the channel rose due to strong seasonal shipments in the previous quarter. In other words, Apple made too many over the Christmas break which sat on the shelves.
Coulling however does not believe that Apple’s tablet days are over. He thought that Apple’s Q1 performance did not indicate a decline in the tablet category, despite growing pressure from larger-screen smart phones.
He thinks that consumers, and increasingly businesses, are continuing to adapt, with tablets acting as disruptors and finding their place as desktop and notebook replacements.
Couling added that Apple’s ecosystem and the recent launch of Office for iPad should ensure it is well placed to remain a leader for some time.
According to the rest of the Canalys report into sales, Global PC shipments rose five percent year on year to reach 123.7 million units in the first quarter of 2014.
Roughly 41 percent of those shipments belonged to the tablet category and about 38 percent to the species notebook, with desktops making up the rest.
In the non-tablet PC category, the end of Windows XP helped arrest the decline in notebook shipments somewhat, limiting it to seven percent. This factor also helped desktop shipments remain flat year on year, Canalys said.
The quarter was particularly good for Lenovo as it managed to raise its PC market share from 10 percent to 12 percent, shipping around 15 million units worldwide. “It achieved solid annual growth in all PC categories and is now placed first, second and third in the notebook, desktop and tablet markets respectively,” the report added.
Most of the growth came from Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Canalys analyst James Wang pointed out that Lenovo managed an impressive 61 percent year-on-year growth in shipments there.
“‘Lenovo was quick to move with new form factors and its Yoga line now dominates the global convertible notebook market,” Wang said.
“In addition, it has diversified its tablet portfolio and has product SKUs in all key market segments. Unlike Apple, with its ‘one size fits all’ tablet strategy, Lenovo and others are free to tailor tablets to specific market segments. The tablet form factor is well liked by both young and old consumers; product customization can be beneficial in both cases,” Wang said.