The global tablet market just isn't the growth market it used to be.
Although the market still expanded in the most recent quarter for which data is available, the global tablet market was only able to expand at a paltry 3.8% according to research firm IDC. Among specific companies, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad maintained its place as the world's most popular tablet, although shipments of its highly popular iPads declined from the same quarter last year.
If this quarter bears any indication, it could be a hard year for Apple in the tablet market. Beyond slowing market growth, there's another good reason to worry over the iPad's performance in 2014 as well: increased competition.
Exhibit A: Xiaomi's MiPad
Although we could easily focus on Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently launched Surface Pro 3, Xiaomi's recently unveiled MiPad is an equally serious, if not more so, threat to the iPad Mini.
At first glance, the MiPad appears to bear an uncanny resemblance to the iPad Mini, while the names of the two products also share some striking similarities. Beyond just device specifics, Xiaomi has proven it's the real deal, with its quick ascent as a force to be reckoned with in the Chinese smartphone market. In the video below, tech and telecom specialist Andrew Tonner argues that Apple investors should certainly be alarmed by Xiaomi's MiPad.