Is Apple's iPad Mini Finished?

Tech industry website Boy Genius Report (BGR) cited a source Tuesday who said that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is near a decision to eliminate the iPad mini from its product lineup. The 7.9-inch device is being squeezed on one side by the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus and on the other by the just introduced 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

BGR quoted its source as saying that the iPad mini has been “sized out of its category” and that the sales numbers are “very clear” that the midsize device is not a stalwart seller.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro has the same footprint, but a larger display, as the 9.7-inch iPad. The new iPad Pro’s footprint is also smaller than the first Pro’s 12-inch footprint.

Tablet sales have been dropping for more than two years. The latest report from IDC showed tablet sales down 8.5% year over year in the first quarter. Sales are being stolen by detachable keyboard devices like Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Surface and Surface Pro.

Between 2010, when the first iPad was launched, and 2013, the tablet market grew faster than the market for any other computing device ever. Consumers, however, do not refresh these devices as often as they buy new phones and, as phone display sizes get bigger, tablet upgrades become even less popular.

Apple shipped 8.9 million iPad units in the first quarter of 2017, a decline of 13% year over year. Samsung, the second-biggest seller of tablets had a decline of 1.1% to 6 million units, and Huawei, number three in the sales rankings, saw a drop of nearly 32% to 2.7 million units.

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