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What a new iPad needs for Apple to succeed

Apple could be gearing up for an October launch of a new iPad amid concerns about falling tablet demand.

New features on the rumored iPad Air 2 are expected to include an anti-glare coating and a fingerprint sensor, but beyond appealing to Apple "fanboys" and early tech adopters, they might not be enough to get the average tablet user to upgrade, said Alice Truong, a staff writer at Fast Company.

Apple reported a 9 percent decline in tablet sales in its latest quarter, and for the first time, overall quarterly tablet sales fell year-over-year, according to NPD research.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook holds the new iPad Air during an Apple announcement at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook holds the new iPad Air during an Apple announcement at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco.

Tablet makers that manufacture cheaper tablets, especially those sold in emerging markets, are gaining ground on higher-end tablet makers like Apple and Samsung, Truong said. That could persuade Apple to come out with a cheaper version of the iPad, "but if you look at the iPhone 5C, that strategy hasn't necessarily panned out," she told CNBC.

The more promising option could be to target higher-end consumers including gamers willing to pay for faster, more powerful processors and additional controls on the iPad that are more conducive to gaming, Truong said.

Read More Apple acquisitions suggest hardware sales concerns

Apple's partnership with IBM is also promising, according to Truong.

"That could spell a lot of opportunity in the enterprise market. Already, iPads are used a lot in businesses, but with IBM's software, with big data and analytics, there could be more potential to expand the iPad market further," she said.

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Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 6 models on Sept. 9.

If there isn't any significant surprise or wow factor coming along with new product launches, consumers will likely upgrade their tablets less often, Truong said.

By CNBC's Althea Chang