This news honestly surprised me. Tablet sales are swirling down the drain:

In Apple’s 2014 first fiscal quarter, a three-month period ended Dec. 28, 2013, the company sold more than 26 million iPads and generated $11.5 billion in sales. Apple’s iPad business was about one-third the size of its iPhone unit, but nearly twice the size of its Mac division and nearly three times the size of its Services business.

During Apple’s last-reported fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016, the company sold 13.1 million iPads and generated $5.5 billion in revenue. The iPhone division is now 10 times bigger than Apple’s iPad unit, and Mac and Services business lines are now generating more revenue each quarter than its tablet business.

In just three years, Apple’s iPad business has been halved—and there is no end in sight to the bloodletting.

Meanwhile, the broader tablet market appears to be in free fall. During the fourth quarter of 2016, 52.9 million tablet units shipped worldwide, a figure that was down 20.1% compared to the same period in 2015, according to research firm IDC. Apple was the tablet market’s leader, but its shipments were down by 18.8%—more than any other company in the top five.

I had always thought that tablets might be on the way to replacing the laptop some day, but given how rapidly they seem to be declining in importance, it looks like that isn’t going to happen any time soon. I guess this comes back to the core reason for the decline of the desktop and laptop; the vast majority of people are using computers for Email and Facebook/social media. So what good is a tablet if they already own a smartphone?

The article also goes onto say that devices without keyboards are doing particularly badly, so the people who ARE buying them are probably using them as cheap portable laptops, just with Android or iOS as the operating system, rather than Windows. It seems like for the time being, the smartphone will remain the unchallenged king of computing devices.

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