After 6 Years, Is the iPad a Disappointment?

Source: Apple.

A failure in only one way

Even after the iPad's recent year-over-year sales declines, it's impossible to view it as anything other than a resounding success for Apple and its investors. Though less profitable than the iPhone, the iPad has nonetheless generated billions in profits for the company. What's more, Apple's management continues to signal its bullishness on the form factor, and Apple's place in the tablet market.

In fact, the only way someone can justifiably argue the iPad has proven to be a letdown is relative to the once-lofty expectations from analysts and research firms. As was noted by Re/code, well-respected market analysis firms like Gartner predicted in the early phase of the tablet market that the market would sell more than 300 million devices annually, appreciably higher than the 206 million that actually shipped last year according to IDC. However, any fair assessment of these expectations should, in hindsight, admit they were perhaps a bit lofty.

Going forward, the major trends influencing the tablet market will likely remain firmly in place, particularly the continued merging of the tablet and laptop form factor. As one of the strongest players in either market, Apple's place as a leader in this ongoing evolution is all but assured. However, predicting what Apple's tablet business will look like even into the medium term -- say five years -- is by no means clear.

Either way, as it settles into what appears to be a rapidly maturing market, Apple's iPad, despite recent sales declines, remains anything but a failure for the world's largest tech company. After all, not every product can be as successful as the iPhone.

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The article After 6 Years, Is the iPad a Disappointment? originally appeared on

Andrew Tonner owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Gartner and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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