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Insider advises Apple investors to brace for 50% plunge in iPad sales this quarter

Apple's shrinking iPad sales are expected to continue their downward trend this year, led by a particularly drastic year over year drop this quarter, according to well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who does not expect a new 12.9-inch model to turn things around in the immediate future.

Kuo, of KGI Securities, believes iPad shipments will "struggle to top" 45 million units this year, he said in a new research note on Friday, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider. That would result in a 30 percent year over year decline from 2014.

Apple is expected to introduce a new 12.9-inch iPad model this year, and Kuo still believes that larger form factor is on track to launch. However, he doesn't expect the new model to "contribute meaningfully to shipments momentum anytime soon."

Kuo believes iPad sales will get off to a particularly rough start in 2015, with his projections calling for shipments to decline 52.7 percent in the first quarter of calendar 2015 to just 10.1 million units. Next quarter, he expects them to drop another 30 to 40 percent to between 7 million and 8 million units.

Kuo's predictions call for iPad shipments in 2015 to witness their steepest decline in the product's short five-year history.

Last month, Kuo was well above market expectations when he said he believed Apple had shipped 73 million iPhones in the December quarter. His lofty estimate proved more accurate than most, as Apple soon after reported massive record sales of 74.5 million iPhones in the three-month period.