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Apple's Tablet Can't Prevent Sales Malaise

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- After a decade of success, Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) newest growth supplement is going to be a tough Tablet to swallow.

The iPhone has finally cracked the China market, Apple's Fifth Avenue flagship store rakes in more cash than any shop in modern U.S. retailing, and the new crop of iPods will have cameras that could spark a big replacement cycle.

Like never before, Apple is at the top of its game. But like any champ, the focus has to be on the next big win.

Don't Bet on Apple's iTablet

For Apple, the stunning growth streak lives or dies with the upcoming Tablet.

Heck of a Halo

Hey, this is Apple, right? What's the worry? For 10 years, Apple has demonstrated the hottest hand in gadgets, delivering a string of blockbuster hits.

The iPod and iTunes redefined not just music players, but also the business of selling songs. In computers, Apple's Macs were sleeker, premium-priced devices that people found a joy to use and were cool alternatives to sluggish, bloated, virus-plagued PCs.

Then came the iPhone. Timing the tipping point for touchscreens perfectly, Apple set the standard for a new generation of smartphones and ushered in an era of fingertip controlled phones and improved Web viewing.

The iPhone has been a smashing success, but the device is in its third year, and with China now onboard, it faces fewer new market opportunities. The iPod may get a boost from its new camera feature, but the glory days have passed. And Macs face a resurgent Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) Windows and Intel (INTC - Get Report)-powered Wintel effort that threatens to take the shine off Apple's computer sales.
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