Much has been written about Apple’s iPad in the past year, particularly regarding slumping sales, and dropping marketshare. Yet, the iPad remains the most used tablet on the planet. What gives? There seem to be two basic reasons iPad sales have fallen, yet iPad usage remains the highest among all tablets, despite marketshare losses the past two years.
The first reason has to do with the iPad itself. The diminutive device was an unqualified home run, quickly selling more units than the Mac, and selling much faster than the iPhone in the early years.
iPad sales plateaued, then dropped. What happened?
People keep their iPads longer than they keep their iPhones. That would account for slowing or plateauing sales. What about the drop? iPad usage remains very high among all tablets, but Apple has yet to offer the same compelling reasons to upgrade as frequently as iPhone users upgrade.
The iPad, after an initial wave of tremendous success, has fallen back into a more predictable pattern of sales and usage– much like the Mac. Apple’s iPad sells more than double the numbers of the Mac which is selling at record levels each quarter. Both are successes, one is merely falling into a pattern of sales, much like the other.
The second reason has to do with economics. An iPad supposedly does less than a Mac notebook, and that’s certainly true when comparing powerful applications such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite and others which play well to professionals and the enterprise.
From a pricing perspective, there’s little doubt the iPad faces stiff competition from new $200 Chromebooks and Windows PC notebooks. Granted, the quality of such devices falls below that of an iPad, and Apple’s tablet has far more applications from which to choose, but money is money, and $200 to $300 is throwaway money for tech gadgets these days, and the nearly three-year-old iPad mini starts at $249, and a well equipped iPad Air 2 can top $800.
That doesn’t mean the lack of killer new features or competition from cheaper Chromebooks or Windows PC notebooks will kill the iPad, but both forces will keep the iPad from becoming the success the iPhone enjoys now. Still, Apple’s slowing iPad business accounts for nearly double the revenue of the Mac product line.
Funk, yes. Flop, no.