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Did Apple Wait Too Long To Release iPad Air, iPad Mini With Retina Display?

Did Apple Wait Too Long To Release iPad Air, iPad Mini With Retina Display?

Two days ago, Benzinga reported that Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) share of the tablet market had dropped to historical new lows during the September quarter.

At the time it was believed that Apple commanded 31.8 percent of the market -- the firm's lowest share yet.

Now it seems that Apple's market share may be even lower.

According to researchers at IDC, Apple commanded only 29.6 percent of the tablet market.

The decline is blamed on two factors: slowing growth and the lack of a new tablet for the third quarter. At this time last year, the third-generation iPad was roughly six months old. It arrived at the end of the Q1 2012, which greatly boosted Apple's tablet sales during the second and third quarters.

In 2013, Apple chose to save the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display for November. This was a necessary evil; otherwise Apple would have released its upgrades too close together. By shifting new iPad releases to November, Apple should be able to avoid future upgrade dilemmas.

Related: Rumor: Apple To Ship 10 Million iPad Air Units In Q4

While the iPad's release date may have hurt Apple during the summer sales period, IDC expects the company to enjoy "robust shipment growth" during the December quarter.

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Analysts like Morgan Stanley, Piper Jaffray and Deutsche Bank have praised Apple for charging a higher price for the iPad Mini with Retina Display because they assume it will improve the company's margins.

Consumers may be less enthused. Why spend $399 on a seven-inch tablet when they could purchase an iPad Air for $100 more, or a Nexus 7 for $170 less? Apple may be counting on the former line of thinking -- if consumers want an iPad badly enough, they might be tempted to move up to the more expensive model. But if price is an issue, the Nexus 7 may prove to be a more attractive device.

That said, IDC is quick to point out that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) raised the price of their tablets by $30. The iPad Mini with Retina Display is still vastly more expensive, however.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Amazon Apple Google iPad iPad AirNews Rumors Tech Best of Benzinga


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