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PEAK iPAD: Slab looking a bit peaky, needs big biz to take more tablets

Sales stall, lack of innovation and absence of Microsoft Office blamed

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Sales of Apple iPhones are in rude health - but the Cupertino idiot-tax operation's iPad is sickly and in need of some tender loving biz customers.

This is the diagnosis by Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes, who in a note to investor clients said that, unlike the Jesus mobe, the once super-soaraway fondleslab "clearly has the flu - and a bit too soon". The solution is to make the device much more desirable for businesses, we're told.

The sniffles were apparent in Apple's most recent fiscal Q3 numbers that showed the company sold 2.4 million fewer tabs than in the corresponding quarter in 2012.

Cupertino's chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer played down the importance of slide by saying that in the year ago period the tech titan unleashed its third-generation iPad which fuelled demand and channel inventory.

The slowdown in Apple slab shipments was also noticed by IDC last week: its second calendar quarter data showed iPad sales had dropped 14.1 per cent on the year-ago quarter globally in a tablet market that grew 59.6 per cent.

Slab sales slowed across the board in Q2 2013, but Apple's four nearest rivals - Samsung, Asus, Lenovo and Acer - all grew at least more than twice the market rate.

The problem has been the lack of major iPad innovation for 18 months, said one Apple channel partner who added that small speed bumps in processors no longer cuts it with consumers.

"Where it hasn't evolved and it needs to is Microsoft Office; the big killer app for the iPad is not there, nor an Office-like replacement from another vendor," our source said.

The Apple tab's email and productivity software remains "rudimentary", said the insider, and needs to be "substantially improved" before the hardware has a better chance at more corporate rollouts.

Reitzes at Barclays also said Apple needed to more aggressively target business customers.

“We are not talking only about PC replacements — we mean innovative thinking around new use cases that can drive sales, collect data for analytics, manage inventory better and lower costs,” he claimed in the note.

“We believe that the ‘new applications’ market for iPads in business could top 100 million units over time — about the size of the corporate PC market – at least $40 billion in size.” ®

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