The One Huge Thing Everybody Gets Wrong About Tablets

TIME

The news Monday that tablet sales dropped off for the first time last quarter are bound to accelerate the “tablets are dead” punditry we’ve seen around the web over the past few months. But the vast majority of commentators writing about tablets get one big thing wrong: The tablet market isn’t one big market, it’s many small ones.

The car industry gives us a somewhat imperfect analogy. Automakers lump annual sales of all motorized cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, RVs, and more into a single statistic. The point of this figure is to show how many motorized vehicles were sold each year. Yet, to truly speak accurately about the automotive industry, it’s more helpful to see the entire category broken out into each distinct segment — growth or declines in each category tell us more about the market than simply lumping all of them together.

But that’s exactly what’s being done…

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