Tablet vendors shipped 49.3 million units in the second quarter (2Q14) for a year-on-year gain of 11 percent, according to IDC. Compared to the first quarter, the IT market research firm observed that the market is taking a slightly downward turn.
Second-quarter shipments dipped 1.5 percent, compared to the first quarter. Analysts expect "positive but slower growth in 2014 compared to the previous year," said IDC.
Phablets and long-lived tablets are tempering growth, said IDC's Research Director for Tablets, Jean Philippe Bouchard. He noted in a statement that "the market is still being impacted by the rise of large-screen smartphones and longer than anticipated ownership cycles."
Another factor: enterprises are dragging their feet.
Bouchard said his team "can also attribute the market deceleration to slow commercial adoption of tablets." Nonetheless, he expects business demand to bounce back, thanks, in part, to a business-friendly team-up between Big Blue and Cupertino.
IDC predicts "commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014 will help the market grow and that we will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market," said Bouchard.
On July 15, IBM and Apple announced that they were cooperating on over 100 industry-specific applications developed exclusively for the iPhone and iPad. The partnership entails a suite of iOS-specific IBM cloud services, including big data analytics and mobile device management (MDM).
"For the first time ever we're putting IBM's renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple," said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in prepared remarks. "This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver."
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said the alliance "will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM's leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services."
Fortunately for both companies, Apple's tablets remain in demand.
IDC noted that the company "managed to maintain its lead in the worldwide tablet market, shipping 13.3 million units in the second quarter" for 26.9 percent of the market, despite a decrease in shipments. Meanwhile, chief rival Samsung's share of the market dropped to 17.2 percent from 18.8 percent a year ago.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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