IDC: there’s potential for iPad Pro growth in the commercial and education markets

Good news for the iPad Pro: the worldwide detachable tablet market (those with attachable/detachable keyboards) grew to 6.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017 (4Q17), an increase of 10.3% from the previous holiday season, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Apple maintained a solid lead in the holiday quarter driving growth both through its lower-priced 9.7-inch iPad as well as its newly refreshed iPad Pro products, notes the research group.

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While the lower-price iPad has continued to drive a strong consumer upgrade cycle, the shifting focus is to iPad Pro and its potential in the commercial and education segments. With the only expected tablet growth to come from these segments, Apple's recent launch of "Apple at Work" shows their commitment to maintain its leader position, according to IDC.

The research group says that tablet growth for the entire year of 2017 remained positive although it showed signs of slowing as detachable tablets grew 1.6% year over year in 2017, down from the 24% growth in 2016. However, some of the slowness was attributed to the launch cadence of high profile devices like the Surface, which was off schedule, leaving older models on shelves as consumers and businesses laid in wait for product refreshes.

Outside of the detachable models, “old-fashioned slate tablets” continued to ship in large volumes reaching 43.1 million units during the fourth quarter, and 141.7 million during the year, according to IDC. The research group says the devices “do not offer much in terms of productivity and have been largely relegated to simple media consumption devices.”