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Cook says tablet sales slump is 'speed bump,' looks toward future growth

In a recent interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook characterized an apparent slowdown in tablet sales as a "speed bump," a sentiment that runs counter to some industry pundits who claim slates like the iPad are past their prime.

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Speaking with Re/code's Walt Mossberg, Cook was decidedly upbeat about the tablet industry, and unsurprisingly Apple's iPad, amid worries that the market is losing steam.

"We couldn't be happier with how we've done with the first four years of the iPad," Cook said. "I'd call what's going on recently a speed bump, and I've seen that in every category."

Cook said much the same in July when addressing shareholder concerns over sagging iPad numbers. For the June quarter, Apple managed to move 13.3 million iPads, which was in line with company estimates, but fell short of upside expectations. The performance was down 9.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

At the time, Cook pointed to channel reduction and localized slowdown in certain developed markets like the U.S. and Western Europe, but noted upcoming innovations and partnerships would drive growth down the road. While nothing concrete was announced, the Apple chief promised new hardware, software and services are on their way.

One possible outlet for growth is Apple's recently announced collaboration with IBM dubbed "IBM MobileFirst for iOS." The program focuses on enterprise solutions, with IBM developing more than 100 native iOS apps and services tailored to the needs of multiple industries. MobileFirst is set to roll out later this year.

As for future product prospects, a rumor today rekindled discussions over a gigantic 12.9-inch iPad that could be on track for an early 2015 launch. Current iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display models are also expected to get a refresh this year with Touch ID fingerprint sensors, spec bumps and possibly a doubling of RAM for the 9.7-inch version.

The latest rumors claim Apple will double onboard memory for the "iPad Air 2" to 2GB, while keeping