Can we put a stop to the ridiculous narrative that Apple has an iPad problem? At best it is just foolishness, at worst it's mendacious FUD.
PC replacement goes in waves
Oh I'm not saying demand hasn’t slowed down a little -- the iPad was a huge deal across the first three years and it seems to me that in the last 12-months PC users have finally bitten the bullet and replaced their creaking 3-kilo Dell with a shiny new MacBook, having picked up an iPad the year before.
However the idea that the iPad is failing in some way is utterly preposterous. Look at it this way:
- Apple's recently reported quarter did not include any sales of the new iPads.
- Everyone in the world who wanted an iPad in the last few months knew new models were coming -- and wanted to take a look at Apple's "phablet", the iPhone 6 Plus.
- So they waited.
We don’t yet know how popular the current crop is going to be -- though the signs I've seen say "very".
“What you do see is that people hold onto their iPads longer than they do a phone. And because we’ve only been in this business four years, we don’t really know what the upgrade cycle will be for people. So that’s a difficult thing to call," said Apple CEO, Tim Cook.
I think iPads will turn out to be the kind of device users choose to replace every 24-36 months, if they can. This means the next few months should see millions of iPad 2 owners migrating to the new models and selling their devices on the second user market.
iPads are incredibly popular second user devices because they are so reliable. Indeed, the biggest problem owners of old iPads have is that the latest iOS 8 compatible apps won't run on earlier iOS editions, and that is going to make jailbreaking really interesting to a lot of consumers (unless Apple acts first).
Beyond the obvious
This means demand is spreading across the obvious demographics -- all those old iPads are being used somewhere. Those users already know Apple makes the best tablets.
"I know there's a popular view that the market is saturated, but we don't see that," Cook told analysts, while also admitting the company wanted to increase iPad sales.
Cook alluded to one of the ways Apple hopes to increase iPad sales during the call when he noted that the first apps delivered in conjunction with IBM under the two firm's new partnership will appear next month as his firm focuses iPads on the enterprise. AppAdvice has a good selection of ideas to help improve iPad sales. He also noted the success in developing economies, including China.
The move to enterprise means Apple is also telling us that iPads are productive tools we can use to replace much of what we use computers for. This will become an even more compelling story as Apple broadens the range to include larger display (iPad Pro) editions and faster and better iPad mini configurations.
Like a Mac
Apple's decision to introduce iPads alongside new Macs tell us the company positions these devices as more like Macs than iPhones, even though they run iOS. Indeed when you combine Mac and iPad sales (as Canalys does but IDC and Gartner won't) you see the true picture of Apple's leading position in the PC industry. No one else is winning.
In future, who knows. It seems to me iPad sales will get a shot in the arm when Apple introduces its iTunes media streaming services next year. All the same, these reports claiming iPad doom are both nonsensical and exaggerated. Please make them stop.
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