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Tablet Screen Sizes Grow As iPad Pro Beckons

Bigger is better in many things, including tablet sizes, at least among a growing number of North American consumers.

North American shipments of tablets with screen sizes of at least 11 inches will jump 99 percent in 2015, Strategy Analytics forecasts. And in 2019, 11-inchand- up sizes will grow to 6 million units, accounting for 8 percent of shipments, up from 2014’s 2 percent share. Shipments of 7- to 7.9-inch tablets will fall to 28 percent of shipments from 2014’s 46 percent.

Growth in big-screen tablets is driven by consumer adoption of 2-in-1 tablets for content creation as well as by enterprise adoption “for PC replacement and workflow transformation,” the company said.

The 7- to 7.9-inch segment is shrinking because of big-screen smartphone, or phablet, adoption.

“A dramatic shift is underway among tablet screen sizes to accommodate more use cases for the tablet,” said Peter King, director of Strategy Analytics’ Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies Service. “The success of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 — and now the lower-cost Surface 3 — has opened the market for traditional PC vendors to sell larger screen-sized Windows tablets to compete for PC-replacement dollars.”

In addition, he said, two-in-one tablets “have gained market share as costs have come down, placing 10- and 11-inch Windows tablets in the mid and low price tiers for mass market consumption.”

Said senior analyst Eric Smith, “The gulf between PCs and tablets is shrinking every day” as suppliers “transform the tablet into a content-creation device.”

The portability and versatility of two-in-one tablets and premium slate tablets such as the Surface Pro 3 and iPad Pro “will enable the tablet to increasingly serve new market segments, such as field work, healthcare, retail point of sale, education, and even desk work,” he said.

The North American base of installed tablets will hit 264 million in 2019, up 20 percent from 2015.