Are Consumers Losing Interest In Tablets?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tablets had historically been a very hard sell for computer manufacturers until Apple's  (AAPL) introduction of the iPad changed consumers' priorities.

But recently iPad sales have begun to slow, with Apple announcing unit sales had fallen more than 9% in the quarter following a 16% decline in the previous quarter. Back in 2012, Apple was proudly announcing quarterly sales jumps of nearly 85%. Rival Microsoft (MSFT) has been spending millions to push its Surface Pro tablet/PC with moderate success, and Google (GOOG) Android tablets are selling but they're getting less expensive every day further shrinking razor-thin profits.

Does this signal the beginning of the end for tablet computers?

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"The sales cycle of iPad remained in negative territory during the June quarter as the tablet market has shown signs of softening," Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said in a research note. "Apple reported iPad units of 13.3 million (down 19% QoQ and down 9% YoY) but better than our 11.5 million projection. Apple indicated iPad unit sales met the company's expectations but was below analyst estimates."

Reached by phone, White said the tablet market "has hit a wall for sure." Unlike consumers buying new model smartphones every two years White noted that iPads have been around for only four years and questioned "how often do users really need to upgrade their tablets?"

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