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9.7-Inch iPad Pro Is Apple's Last Chance To Save the iPad Line (bgr.com) 301

An anonymous reader writes from an article written by Yoni Heisler on BGR: The iPad occupies a unique place in the annals of tech history. Upon its release in 2010, Apple's first stab at a tablet quickly set sales records. Not only did early iPad sales outpace early iPhone sales, but the iPad quickly became one of the fastest selling consumer electronics products of all time. The iPad's once-auspicious journey, however, would eventually take an unexpected detour. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, soaring sales began to taper off, even as Apple began to introduce newer and more advanced models. Today, iPad sales are still slumping. During Apple's most recent earnings report, the company revealed that year over year iPad sales fell by 25% while iPad related revenue dropped by 20%. Hardly an aberration, iPad sales have been dropping for well over two years at this point. And whereas Tim Cook once took to earnings conference calls to praise the iPad, he now finds himself forced to defend the iPad against a barrage of analyst questions. Yesterday, Apple released a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro and it stands to reason that this is Apple's last chance to truly inject a bit of life into a faltering product line.
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9.7-Inch iPad Pro Is Apple's Last Chance To Save the iPad Line

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  • by Kazuma-san ( 775820 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @05:58PM (#51756871)
    If your product does not offer any improvements over the one the consumers already have, and if it has to compete with an ever more crowded market space sales of course will dwindle. Apple might consider increasing the live cycles of their products. After all, there is no point in offering a product with better performance if hardly anybody wants it. I myself am an Android user. Changing from Motorola Droid to Galaxy S2 and than to HTC M9 were always great improvements. But now with the M10 on the horizon I cannot imagine why I should want one.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:08PM (#51756947)

      iPad sales were huge in the beginning because . . . DUH . . . . the market for tablets was wide open. Now, nearly 6 years later, the market is saturated. Everyone who wants one, has one, and because the iPad is so over-priced, people are not going to rush out to buy a new one, they're more likely to stick with what they have.

      A "more powerful" iPad doesn't really get you much. It's still strictly for content consumption and niche functions. For the same price as the top of the line iPad I can buy a laptop that beats it in every meaningful category -- screen size, CPU power, RAM, storage space, etc. -- AND is actually powerful enough to run real software and do real work.

      • by marklark ( 39287 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:10PM (#51756961) Homepage

        You're looking at it from the wrong end... I have an original iPad and it still works just fine for what we need. I may buy more of them. It may break but, in the meantime, I have no need to replace it.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:16PM (#51757011) Homepage

          And that is the problem, they build them to last too damn long. the ipad 1 is a tank, and the batteries in all that I touch still are at 80% capacity. the 12" ipad pro is the first ipad that entices me to replace my air version 1. and I only got that because the wife took my older ipad and wont give it back.

          Yet I have been through 30 android tablets.... most have screens made from potatochips that break easily (I have 3 nexus 7's with broken screens in my hardware hacking bin) or the micro USB plug get's buggered up. We really need an open source lightning connector replacement as that part is pretty cool.

          • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:35PM (#51757147) Homepage Journal

            The thing is, build quality has always been part of what made Apple great. They build products that last. That's a big part of why people are willing to pay a premium for them. Sure, Apple could start building junk that doesn't last, but the moment they do, they stop being Apple, and all that's left is a race to the bottom.

            The real problem is that nothing has really changed since the first model other than CPU speed and RAM. What would make me consider upgrading an iPad? Make it just a little thicker and double the battery life. Give it front-facing stereo speakers. Beyond those missing features, until the CPU requirements of apps exceeds the hardware's capabilities, a tablet is like a TV set. It is going to get many years of use, and unless you drop and break it, upgrades are unlikely.

            So if Apple really wants to drive people to upgrade hardware, they have to provide a reason for developers to build serious, CPU-hungry apps for the devices. That means they need more storage to accommodate such apps. They need better ability to import and/or acquire media. And so on. And realistically, the sorts of apps that demand this don't lend themselves to tablets very well, so they'll probably need to add a full-size slide-around keyboard, too. By the time you get to that point, you basically have a laptop. In other words, an iPad is unlikely to ever truly be "pro" by the traditional definition. The very core of its design is contrary to things like video editing, RAW photo editing and photo library management, etc.

            In other words, I don't think there's anything Apple can do about this. The nature of markets is that they eventually mature into a zero-sum game, and this market is there already. The best thing Apple can do is come up with new product categories, whether we're talking about accessories, cases, thermostats, lighting control systems... things that integrate well with iPad, and use those both as additional sources of revenue and as ways of selling more iPads.

            • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @07:14PM (#51757427) Homepage

              I was tempted by the 12" iPad Pro due to its Pencil support, but went to a store and tried one and the silly thing was just too big for the majority of my use cases (reading, news, documentation). The new 9.7" version, however, may be just the ticket.

              I also just checked and I can sell my current Air 2 model for about 80% of the original purchase price on Amazon.

              Which is another thing with iPads: Not only do many of the original models work just fine, but every user that upgrades essentially puts another one on the market and takes out another potential buyer.

              IMHO THAT"S a major, major factor in regard to flattened sales in the tablet market. And as you pointed out, that's why Apple is pushing keyboards and pencils and other accessories to the niches that might need (or simply want) them.

              • I use my Air 1 daily-- the iPad outlasted the fricking "smart" leather case. The oilophobic coating on the screen is long gone, I wish I had Touch ID, and the body is starting to get nicks and dents... but I am hesitant to upgrade since I splurged for the 128GB flash and cellular, and the cost of replacing those features has been too high. The new Pro will get a buy from me, but the wife is going to need to start using her iPad more if she wants an upgrade-- she uses it mainly for travel.

                The iPad will hav

              • by Trogre ( 513942 )

                I have found the Galaxy Note range (the tablets, not phones) with the S-Pen and Wacom touchscreen brilliant for annotating documents and teaching classes. Apple and Microsoft, with their attempts at proper stylus support may catch up at some point down the line but for now there's really no comparison.

                Sadly there doesn't seem to yet be a replacement for the 12.2" model so folks wanting to buy new are stuck with the 9.7" models, which are a much lower resolution.

            • by bangular ( 736791 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @08:58PM (#51758073)
              There was a time in this country that building a quality product that lasted a long time was seen POSITIVELY by your investors.
          • We already have a Lightning connector Micro USB replacement in the form of the USB Type C connection. It's just taking awhile to gain mainstream adoption. Until then, we get to keep replacing broken Micro USB cables and chargers every year or so.

          • I still use my first gen iPad Mini all the time. It still works great... why would I replace it?

        • It's becoming very hard to find apps compatible with the latest iOS version you can install on the original iPad. Consequently, I certainly wouldn't say that mine still works just fine for what I need.
        • My old first gen iPad is turning into a doorstop because most new applications and application updates require iOS 7 or higher. Some of the older apps like the Youtube app no longer function as well, and it's also painfully slow compared to a newer model.

          I'd imagine that they'll discontinue support for the iPad 2 in the next major iOS release, so more people will have to start upgrading those tablets then.

          • I'd imagine that they'll discontinue support for the iPad 2 in the next major iOS release, so more people will have to start upgrading those tablets then.

            The iPhone 4S, iPod touch gen 5, iPad 2 and iPad mini are all potentially on the chopping block. 512MB RAM devices. When devices are cutoff from the next iOS it usually seems to have to do with RAM more than anything else.

      • by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @03:41AM (#51759265)

        iPad sales were huge in the beginning because . . . DUH . . . . the market for tablets was wide open. Now, nearly 6 years later, the market is saturated.

        It's just a repeat of the endless "The PC is dead" news stories. No, it's not dead, it's that everyone who wants one has one (I have a ten-year-old quad-core Core2 desktop, upgraded about five years ago with an SSD, that's indistinguishable performance-wise from one I'd buy now - note, I'm not a gamer, so graphics doesn't matter), and the same for the entire friends-and-family support network I maintain, there's no reason to get a new one (in fact Win10 is a strong incentive not to).

        Same with tablets, I have a several year old 9.7" tablet that does pretty much everything the latest 9.7" tablet does. No need to upgrade. The only things that still need upgrading is phones, but even that's mostly to deal with changing cellular standards (4G, 4.xG, etc). In fact with phones we seem to be going backwards, with batteries having shorter and shorter lifetimes in newer models.

        The only thing that'd seriously make me consider upgrading my tablet is if someone made a markedly bigger one, but apparently 9.7" is what we're supposed to be satisfied with (yes, I know there are a few larger ones, but by and large the limit seems to be 9.7").

    • Longevity is exactly why iPad sales are dropping. Almost everyone who wants an iPad and can afford the price has already bought one. The rate at which they sell iPads is now probably roughly inversely proportional to how long they last.

      Apple has three options if they want to make more money:
      1. Decrease the price, so that more people can afford iPads. This will increase sales, but probably not do much to increase profits.
      2. Design new iPads for planned obsolescence. Put in a crappy battery, or an OLED screen

      • current iPads are pretty close to perfect.

        microSD card slot.... just saying....

        • by 605dave ( 722736 )

          Stop saying this. It will never happen. Besides Apple just released this.

          http://www.technobuffalo.com/2... [technobuffalo.com]

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            Stop saying this. It will never happen.

            I agree it will never happen, but why stop saying it? It's one of the worst things about iPads. It's the way Apple can keep charging an extra $100 just to "upgrade" to a model whose only difference is an extra $5 worth of RAM. That's just ridiculous. I consider such price gouging to be immoral and for that reason alone will never purchase an iPad.

            Besides Apple just released this.

            Wow -- Apple finally has a way to interface conveniently with camera photos on an SD Card?? Welcome to the year 2005, folks.

    • Increasing product longevity is a great way to decrease sales. Sure, it's good from a customer standpoint but not a business standpoint.
    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @07:03PM (#51757361)
      I think they have the opposite problem. People typically upgrade phones every few years, especially in the US where most people buy them on contract. However, with tablets, there's no contract so people tend to hold on to them longer. I've still got an iPad 3 from 4 years ago that still works perfectly fine for what I use it for so there's no compelling reason for me to get a newer model outside of general tech lust and if it does get replaced, it can get handed down to someone else who'll be able to make use of it. It's still getting software updates as well so it's not like it's missing some seriously important security patch. The only real downside is that the RAM is rather limited and the amount of web page bloat means that it can't have more a than a few open tabs before reloading pages constantly, but I expect installing ad-blocking software would go a long way towards improving the browsing performance.

      There really isn't more that a newer, more powerful tablet can do to improve on what I use a tablet for. Sure you can throw more CPU or RAM in it to speed up what I'm already doing, but watching streaming video, reading books, or some light web-browsing isn't going to be vastly improved no matter what they do and I'm not interested in doing the kinds of tasks that a newer model of tablet might enable.

      Tablets are a lot more like PCs than they are phones in that consumers can hold onto them a lot longer. Also with the trend towards larger and larger phones, some people are going to skip out on getting a tablet completely.
    • I think maybe Apple are starting to have the opposite problem. People are getting sick of devices that work well until they update to a new version of iOS, possibly pushed into doing so by apps breaking, and then don't work as well as they used to any more. Tablets aren't just the cool new toys now, people actually want something that does useful things. Once bitten, twice shy, and unlike smartphones there's nothing to promote a regular upgrade cycle for tablets that doesn't feel expensive because the cost

  • Planned Obsolesence (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The only way I'm buying a new iPad is if my current iPad breaks. But my current iPad works just fine and has so for 5 years, so why would I buy a new one?

    • by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:05PM (#51756919)

      Same. We have a "New" iPad, a.k.a. iPad 3. Still chugging. I'd like it a little lighter, but there's no feature of any newer iPad that would make me buy a new one now while this one works.

      Phones need better cameras. You add more and more junk to it. You need a newer phone. with the iPad, our usage has been pretty much web browsing and the occasional game. Nothing too taxing.

      • Same. We have a "New" iPad, a.k.a. iPad 3. Still chugging.

        Have you tried a new one?

        Last year we replaced a iPad 3 and iPad 4 (kids and ours) with a pair of iPad Air 2 models and frankly, they are indeed a lot faster.

        The 4 is actually fine still, but we had a 16GB model which is really limited these days.

        Phones need better cameras. You add more and more junk to it. You need a newer phone. with the iPad, our usage has been pretty much web browsing and the occasional game. Nothing too taxing.

        My iPhone 6 Plus has a 1080p camera. The iPhone 6s has a 4k camera, but frankly I'm not going to upgrade for that (and the lens and sensor is really small for that resolution!).

        The primary reason we upgraded our iPads was to get the 128GB model, the kid's model wa

    • by nomadic ( 141991 )
      Eh, they'll just keep "updating" the OS until your iPad crawls.
  • It's simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:03PM (#51756905)

    The ipad doesn't offer a superior experience anymore. it offers a much higher price that people are now unwilling to pay for a device that will likely only be relevant for a year. If they want to stay in the market, they need to cut the price significantly and actually start competing.

    • Nice things are nice (Score:3, Informative)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 )

      A styrofoam cup is as good a beer vessel as a ceramic stein or a pub glass but which one feels nicer in your hand and do you enjoy more. Since enjoyment is what you seek, sometime luxury goods are not about optimizing cheapness. I was passing through the electronics store the other day and fiddled with the pads they had on display. The ipad was clearly the smoothest and most beautiful interface. it just lept out of the line of generic looking rectangles. touch it and the response just seemed lively.
      If I

      • Why did the sales in iPad's drop 20% year over year? Maybe leaping out of the pack only means so much to people who aren't you?

      • by kuzb ( 724081 )

        The problem is that the ipad isn't a higher quality look feel, or experience anymore. It's "luxury" because apple tells you it is - not because it delivers anything resembling an improved experience.

        • The problem is that the ipad isn't a higher quality look feel, or experience anymore. It's "luxury" because apple tells you it is - not because it delivers anything resembling an improved experience.

          I've have two iPad 2 devices (one for work and one for home), a high end Android tablet (Asus TF700T, high end when it was released), and a Nexus 7.
          - The iPad does what I want, play games mainly or test WiFi at work.
          - The Asus Android tablet still works but because there is no stable current Android releases (and yes, I've used third party firmware from the XDA forums) and because of limited memory/CPU it's been sitting in my drawer.
          - The 2013 Nexus 7 was bought to be my car diagnostics tool along with an O

          • You might look in to the new iPad Pro that was just announced today as you can use apple's full stylus on it. So you can get Apple's App ecosystem with the stylus now.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        > A styrofoam cup is as good a beer vessel as a ceramic stein or a pub glass

        Yes it is. Don't lose sight of the fact that the point of the exercise is the G*D D*MNED BEER. What you look like while drinking it is entirely irrelevant.

        • And I know hundreds of people that would not even go into a pub that offers beer in styrofoam cups ... not even to think about drinking it.

          What you look like while drinking it is entirely irrelevant.
          Interesting that you changed topic form what you have in your hand to how you look like.

      • And yet, styrofoam cup sales outnumber ceramic stein sales by orders of magnitude. Most people simply don't care about having a "luxury experience" in every aspect of their life. I could pay triple the price on a tablet, and have aluminium instead of plastic, and a nicer build quality.... Thats great and all, but you'll find that most people have a budget, and plastic is good enough. For the same price as an iPad, I could buy a cheap tablet, and a cheap TV, and have in the end, the enjoyment of both ite
        • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

          And yet, styrofoam cup sales outnumber ceramic stein sales by orders of magnitude. Most people simply don't care about having a "luxury experience" in every aspect of their life. I could pay triple the price on a tablet, and have aluminium instead of plastic, and a nicer build quality.... Thats great and all, but you'll find that most people have a budget, and plastic is good enough. For the same price as an iPad, I could buy a cheap tablet, and a cheap TV, and have in the end, the enjoyment of both items, that do 90% as good a job as a high-end tablet or high-end tv. Optimizing cheapness always matters.

          Styrofoam cups are used once and discarded, ceramic beer steins could be used for generations.

          Similarly, cheap Chinese Android tablets may not last as long as iPads, so higher purchase numbers doesn't mean a corresponding increase in users.

          • by Trogre ( 513942 )

            That may be true to an extent, but it's definitely not always the case. Of my two cheap no-name tablets, bought in 2012 and 2013 respectively, neither have shown any signs of wear or failure despite near daily use.

          • Styrofoam cups are used once and discarded, ceramic beer steins could be used for generations.

            When Apple offers an iPad that can be useful and passed down for multiple generations, let me know. I'm certainly willing to pay for quality when it actually is an investment in something that's durable. I would (and have) paid several hundred dollars for a copper pan that actually works well in my kitchen and that can be passed down to the grandkids. Similarly I've paid a decent amount of money for hardwood furniture that again is durable and beautiful and can be passed down.

            But to me it makes less sense

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        A styrofoam cup is as good a beer vessel as a ceramic stein or a pub glass but which one feels nicer in your hand and do you enjoy more. Since enjoyment is what you seek, sometime luxury goods are not about optimizing cheapness.

        By definition "luxury" pretty much excludes cheapness. What luxury relies on is the assumption that you can't do more than one at a time, you can't live in more than one house, drive more than one car, sleep in one bed, wear more than one set of clothes or eat one man's worth of food. Nobody would die if you got your clothes from charity and ate from soup kitchens, it's not survival that's that stake. You want it and because you can afford it you'll do it, I know I make many "stupid" choices. They got nothi

    • It offers much the same device as most other tablets and it's certainly not only relevant for a year, an ipad 3 is still a perfectly competent machine, release date : 2012

      • by kuzb ( 724081 )

        You're absolutely right. Compared to it's competitors it's virtually obsolete right out of the box.

    • The ipad doesn't offer a superior experience anymore. it offers a much higher price that people are now unwilling to pay for a device that will likely only be relevant for a year. If they want to stay in the market, they need to cut the price significantly and actually start competing.

      It's not very easy to find something as good as an iPad, much less better. The issues Android seems to be having with a good tablet UI aside, who is making a superior hardware platform right now? Personally I use a Surface, so I'm fully aware that Microsoft is having a lot of trouble figuring out how to develop a platform, as opposed to just a bunch of software and hardware guys that happen to all work for the same company and check in with each other from time to time.

    • by agwis ( 690872 )

      You nailed it for me. I wasn't enthusiastic about the price of the original iPad Pro (wow! I already have to call it the original, or the iPad Pro 1. Sheesh!) but I had already just about worn out my iPad 3, I was excited about the faster and more powerful hardware, I definitely needed the extra memory and I was really looking forward to the software improvements such as split screen and multi-tasking. The Apple Pencil was a big selling point as well as the Apple Cover/Keyboard. I didn't care that much abou

    • I was an early iPad adopter and used it for TONS of stuff. Got a bluetooth keyboard and wrote most of my dissertation on my first iPad. It was a GREAT device then.

      Now?

      The 9.7" iPad is too big. It's just plain too big, even the Air, which I now have. But I rarely use it, it's become something for the kids to watch Netflix on. Given what else is available now, it's too heavy. Just plain too heavy.

      The iPad mini is too small. Not the display necessarily, but because of the aspect ratio, there's no way to pair i

    • This is the same foolish strategy that doomed a lot of other companies - HP being a good example. Apple shouldn't and probably can't compete in the lowest-common-denominator commodity tablet race. This is also very-low-profit-margin end of the scale. HP did that and more-or-less self destructed.

  • by imidan ( 559239 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:04PM (#51756915)

    Naturally, sales have declined. Those of us who really wanted one already bought one. I don't need another one. I especially don't care that the newer ones have faster processors and higher resolution because mostly I use it to read email and surf the web. So I plan on using the one I have until it fails. Oh, and I'm planning on replacing the batteries soon, despite Apple's efforts to make that difficult. Maybe that's what they should have planned on: selling us all iPads with replaceable batteries, and then selling us all new batteries in a few years.

    I'm sure I'll be in the market for a new tablet one day, but I think Tim Cook and I have very different ideas about the practical lifespan of these devices.

    • First as a fad as it was the latest, coolest thing and the answer to everything....then competition and market saturation...and along the way people figured out what tablets do well and what they don't do well. specifically, not quite the desktop killer everyone thought it would be. Tablets are great for a lot of things, but a lot of things go better on a desktop/laptop with a keyboard and mouse.
    • Oh, and I'm planning on replacing the batteries soon, despite Apple's efforts to make that difficult. Maybe that's what they should have planned on: selling us all iPads with replaceable batteries, and then selling us all new batteries in a few years.

      There's no way to make money on that. You can only make money selling allegedly non-replaceable batteries, and even then only to a small subset of users. Most of them will just go buy a new tablet, which may or may not be of the same brand as the last one they bought. Of the remainder, many if not most will go to a local who will replace the battery with a part sourced from a third party. There are iDevice repair stores in every town of any size. If you made them replaceable, even fewer people would come in

      • by imidan ( 559239 )

        You're right, I guess. I'm just bitter about not being able to replace the batteries. I sort of understand it; the whole inside of an iPad is mostly batteries, and all the plastic and stuff that you'd need would make the thing a lot thicker and heavier. Anyway, it's not like I'm going to try to buy new batteries from Apple. I'll probably just order something on eBay or Amazon...

    • Has your battery capacity declined? CoconutBattery will now measure the battery capacity of iOS devices, but you have to connect them to an OS X machine running CoconutBattery. My original 32 GB iPad mini still had 87% capacity after two and a half years of use.

  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:06PM (#51756931)

    Revenue on ipads is 7 billion and that's just last quarter. So yeah it's down from 8 billion. boo hoo. It's only several times Tesla's revenue. The difference being it's profitable and Tesla isn't.

    • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:18PM (#51757025) Homepage Journal

      I think that the answer is "market saturation". There's only so much call for tablets, period. They're a semi-durable good, so if you introduce it fast enough, it's entirely possible to get one into the hands of 'everybody' wanting and able to afford it relatively quickly. Now that 'everybody' has one, you're reduced to selling replacements, which means that, roughly speaking 20% of current owners will buy a new one each year, with another 5% or so of 'new participants', while you loose 5% or so due to competitors, changing interests, even things like deaths.

    • We get it you like Apple. Is it offensive to you that others are trying to discuss where the 20% loss in sales originates?

    • You don't understand modern business. If a product isn't returning 25% ROI every quarter, it's not growing so it's a failure.

      Does it make a modest profit? Doesn't matter, it isn't sexy.

      Is it a niche item in a small market with predictable profit margins year after year? Shut it down, the market won't invest in it because it's not growing.

      There are a lot of companies, and a lot of products, that would be better served by being removed from the expectations of the stock market once they reach maturity.

  • I'm an Apple fanboy - full disclosure. I love my MB Air and my iPad Air but there's no way an iPad the size of anything smaller than the Pro has a chance of being a "laptop killer." But the Pro's are too damn expensive. If Apple was serious about the iPad being the thing that would phase out laptops or be the next generation of whatever then they need to drop the price by _a lot_. I have no idea if that's realistically possible without being a loss-leader, but it's pretty much the only way they'd even come
    • Apple should find a way to merge tablets and laptops so that an iPad can be an iMac by plugging in a mouse and keyboard and vice versa.

      People WOULD be willing to shell out such money if it means they don't have to buy two devices: a laptop (or desktop) and a tablet.

      But, that may not be an easy Holy Grail. MS and Google are trying hard at it also with mixed but improving results.

      I'd like to see if the plug-in "keyboard" cannot also have extra processing power and batteries so that one can get full-blown lapt

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Hey I'd still like to see a keyboard for the ipad that works without a startup delay every one I have seen to date uses bluetooth and has a significant delay to bring the bluetooth connection up when you try to start using it.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      If Apple made a docking station, I'd go for an x86 iPad in a heartbeat. The docking station, if stashed in a suitcase, would make it useful for doing stuff when in the middle of nowhere, and if space is too scarce for that, a keyboard case, perhaps a tiny USB mouse, would help.

      When travelling, it is a lot easier to take an iPad over a laptop, even a MB or MBA. Plus, having full x86 functionality to run OS X applications would be quite useful, especially on the road.

  • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:11PM (#51756983)

    The problem is expectations, not the product.

    Almost everyone who wants an iPad now has now, the product has moved into a longer term replacement cycle, rather than a first purchase cycle.

    I purchased the iPad in 2010, then the iPad 2 next year, then the 3 the year after that. After that, I did buy a 4, and passed the 3 down to my kids.

    We kept the combination of the 3 and 4 for awhile, only replacing them last year with a pair of iPad Air 2 units with 128GB each. Expensive, but they'll be good for a LONG time now... My hope is to get 4 years out of them before they need replacing, time will tell how that works out.

    ---

    Keep in mind the iPhone is next in line for this. The iPhone 6/6s and 6 Plus/ 6s Plus are both "fine". We have a pair of 6 Plus models that we have no intention of replacing with a 6s, or even a 7 for that matter. Probably will wait past the 7s as well and see what the 8 offers.

    These devices have been going through massive improvements year over year, but at some point they get "good enough" for everything you want to do with a phone.

    They can't make them bigger while keeping them phones, so the size limit has been reached. The CPU is plenty fast for anything we do on them.

    Watch the next 2 years, the iPhone will see the same slowdown in sales.

    ---

    It has been a huge mistake on Apple's part to so completely depend on these two products for sales. They have (or had) a window to move the Mac line along and provide another option besides Windows, but they will never be anything but a small corner of the market with their current Mac product line. Shame, because I've love some competition there.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      Keep in mind the iPhone is next in line for this. The iPhone 6/6s and 6 Plus/ 6s Plus are both "fine". We have a pair of 6 Plus models that we have no intention of replacing with a 6s, or even a 7 for that matter. Probably will wait past the 7s as well and see what the 8 offers.

      These devices have been going through massive improvements year over year, but at some point they get "good enough" for everything you want to do with a phone.

      They can't make them bigger while keeping them phones, so the size limit has been reached. The CPU is plenty fast for anything we do on them.

      Watch the next 2 years, the iPhone will see the same slowdown in sales.

      ---

      It has been a huge mistake on Apple's part to so completely depend on these two products for sales. They have (or had) a window to move the Mac line along and provide another option besides Windows, but they will never be anything but a small corner of the market with their current Mac product line. Shame, because I've love some competition there.

      That's why they are pushing the new "subscription" plans that allow you to get a new phone every year. It keeps up production of devices, ensures a steady revenue stream, and results in a lot of lightly used phones that can be resold at a profit only slightly lower than at it's original sales price.

    • I think the switch to long upgrade cycles happened with the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s was still selling like crazy up until very recently when, I assume, Apple began switching the production lines over to the SE model. The iPhone 4s was probably the last iPhone that people replaced after 1-2 years. From now on iPhone owners will be on 2+ year replacement cycles.

      On the Android side you still see a lot of people with the Galaxy S3. I doubt Samsung or anyone else will be able to make a phone that makes you want

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      There's a key difference between phones and tablets though: phones are subsidized by providers. For the vast majority of people, it therefore makes sense to upgrade every 2-3 years, when the phone's been paid off, since otherwise you're essentially paying the same monthly cost for less value. Some providers will lower your bill, but not all of them, and many people don't know or care about it, it's a good reason to get a shiny new toy.

      Tablets don't benefit from that dynamic and so are much less likely to
      • There's a key difference between phones and tablets though: phones are subsidized by providers.

        They *used to be*... All 4 major carriers have moved away from that model, a few don't offer it at all, a few do in limited ways.

        Some providers will lower your bill, but not all of them

        They all do now... Verizon and AT&T both give you about a $25 bill credit for not taking the discounted phone, which works out to be a better deal over 2 years all things considered...

        I was paying right at $200 a month for a pair of Galaxy S4 phones, I upgraded to a pair of iPhone 6 Plus 128GB models, paid zero up front, 100% financed over 24 months, my bill went to $220. B

    • Honestly the "problem" isn't the product. It sells, it returns a profit. The problem is it's no longer growing and returning the value the investors expect. Lots of profitable products in niche markets get killed off simply because there's no growth to entice investors.

      Mature products should really be spun off to a private company that can survive on a steady profit without stock investors demanding high returns.

  • by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:19PM (#51757033) Journal

    I'm not much into Apple stuff, closed systems and all that. But I made an exception with the iPad when it debuted. The reason being that there were no alternatives. The iPad was a product without competition, a new thing in the computer ecosystem, but with the background of thousands of iPhone apps.

    What really took me by surprise was the time that it took for other companies to duplicate the tablet concept. Even if they were already making smartphones. I mean, you may need genius to have the idea and believe in it and make the first table. But once somebody had success with it, you just have to make a bigger phone, by Jove! My memory may fail me, but I think it was at least two years between the first iPad and the first solid competition, I think a Samsung with a stylus.

    Just saying that, up to now, Apple has had a visionary at its helm, that could discover, or create, new markets. Also it had really sloppy competition, at least from the point of view of a customer. I think both things are gone now, so it's not a wonder that sales are winding down. Don't expect things to change in the near term. A bigger screen is certainly not going to cut it.

    • My memory may fail me, but I think it was at least two years between the first iPad and the first solid competition, I think a Samsung with a stylus.

      Samsung Tab came out the same year as the iPad (2010). It was basically the same idea as an iPad.

      I knew somebody who got the Tab 2.0 that got released the next year, it was a budget product, but it was fine for browsing, movies, etc.

      Actually, I got a $100 generic Chinese tablet in 2011. It really sucked and I returned it, but it was usable.

  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @06:20PM (#51757037) Journal

    These "death of the ipad" articles are bloody loopy.
    Sales are dropping, but that CERTAINLY doesn't mean it's not an incredibly popular device.

    Here's some hypothetical reasons I think sales could be dropping.
    Android tablets starting to genuinely compete.
    Some business sales going to the Surface, since it transcends that whole, Windows laptop / tablet world
    but the number 1 reason I suspect sales are dropping,... so many god damned people own an ipad now and anything above an ipad3 is a perfectly suitable little device for checking mail, facebook, netflix, photo viewing. People are not feeling the bug to upgrade.

    Will they still upgrade? Damn straight. Will it be as often? No.
    Personally, considering how many god damn ipads are out there, I think a 25% drop in sales is not the end of the world. The ipad has replaced many a desktop, now it too has reached a 'good enough' level of performance (like the desktop) so sales will taper to a more natural replacement and upgrade cycle.

    It's a non story.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because the dramatic title create analytic data -> ad revenue for the publication that publish it....

      I using the ipad for music (daw / synths) and graphics, and there is no alternative to the ecosystem around synths on a tablet device, that has this smooth GUI...

  • I had a first generation iPod Touch that I used for eight years to read Amazon Kindle ebooks. When the battery stopped working, I got an iPhone 5c because it was $100 less than a current generation iPod Touch and I was out of contract on my cellphone. I later traded in the 5c for a 6s because Sprint gave me a good deal. It's unlikely that I'll trade the 6s in anytime soon, as I typically hold on to a cellphone for three years.
  • How many iPads are out there still being used? I think a lot of people have iPads that are finally getting to the end of useful life (battery life, not enough memory, no support for newest features), and I think there will be good reasons for them to upgrade to a newer iPad rather than switch to something else.

    Sure, eventually something new will come along (AR contact lens displays with gesture control and subvocalization speech input or direct brain interface), maybe Apple will catch the next wave, maybe

  • Like everybody else, I have an iPad. It works well. With no compelling reason to buy another one, I won't.

    QED

    Actually, I was planning to buy an iPad Mini until I won one in a contest. It's smaller than my regular iPad and a better fit in the cockpit as an electronic flight planning tool.

    ...laura

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      I might buy a new tablet for one and one reason only: more storage capacity. My last Archos is getting long in the tooth but it still stomps all the competition when it comes to storage.

  • 600 million PCs are over 6 years old and people keep using them & PC sales are down while Apple's Macs are going up.

    Given what a lot of those people need when they do replace them, what do you think they will choose?

  • It's a thing Steve Jobs told everyone they needed. Turns out they didn't need it.

  • titling a post 'last chance' — is really trolling.

    people were predicting the death of the Mac for twenty years — the iPad is still bringing millions of dollars of revenue (not loss) for the company.

    does apple kill off apple TV because it doesn outsell the iphone? no — they keep it, because it fits into the overall design and usage patterns of many users very well, and has the best (human-vetted) software library out there.

    the ipad isnt going anywhere.
    jp

  • by ericdano ( 113424 )

    This is Bullshit. The problem with the iPad is that is it so well made that people who bought them are still using them. iOS 9.3 still runs on an iPad 2. For what most of us use an iPad for, web browsing, email, lite things like that, an iPad 2 still works FINE.

    Heck, I still use my iPad 1, which is stuck on iOS 5. The thing works fine for Web and email, and for reading things with Good Reader and music stuff with UnReelbook.

    Would I like to get an new iPad? Sure. But I don't have the $$$ to afford it at the

  • The "problem" is that most iPads currently in user's hands work perfectly fine, and there is no need to replace them. Yes, iPad 1 and 2 are slow and obsolete. There's nothing wrong with the rest.

    Phones are an entirely different matter. In the first world, at least, there is peer pressure to have "the latest" and actually there are some real benefits (camera improvements, radical speed improvements, larger screens, touch ID, ApplePay, etc. etc. etc.) to recent iPhone models.

    I see no good reason to upgrade my

  • Article states "Hardly an aberration, iPad sales have been dropping for well over two years at this point." No, not "Well over" two years. Just "two years". Maybe two and a quarter years, but that's not what comes to mind (and probably intentionally so) when you hear "well over two years".

    http://www.macrumors.com/2016/... [macrumors.com]

  • As others have pointed out.

    Mom got sold an original iPad Mini, right before a new one came out (the Mini was already several generations behind at that point).

    It's still a nice device.

    She doesn't play games. She doesn't do anything else computationally or graphics-intensive.

    Just email, Facebook and maybe a news-app then and now. Or a recipes app.

  • iPads last a long time, and as fast as they sold initially, it's not surprising that most of the people who want one already have one.

    -jcr

  • by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <fegg.excite@com> on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @08:36PM (#51757947)

    Crap like this is the reason Steve Jobs used to snub his investors, as well as all those so-called "analysts" who get paid to talk shite about stuff they proclaim themselves to be "experts" of.

    It's a strange business, "market analyst" (sometimes known as "tech writer"). Too often, it's that guy who dropped out of CS and transferred to the humanities department. They convince their editors that they're computer geniuses, because they can write a macro in Word. But ultimately, they're paid to talk or write shit that sounds just reasonable enough that people say, "oh yeah, that must be true". Even if it isn't. and it don't even matter if it isn't. Today's shocking article is completely forgotten the next day, as long as it got the clicks.

    So here we have this "last chance to save the iPad" click-bait. WHAT "last chance", Dingleberry? Like the investors are going to fire Cook and close down iPad production forever? because the iPad has reached a bit of market saturation and isn't shitting Tiffany diamonds like it once was? Shee ittt. It's a damn good product, better built than any Android alternative I've seen out there, and is even giving Microsoft's Surface a run for its money (damn, Satya, make the keyboard cheaper, huh?) and profit margins remain high. Every year, more students and parents and old people will buy one, probably at the expense of some shitty HP laptop at Best Buy.

    This article is monkey-shite click-bait. Here's the real story: some fuckwad editor at BGR ordered Yoni Heisler to write some rain-on-the-parade Apple article just in time for the press-announcement, knowing it will generate a bunch of clicks. And the net gets its undies bunched over how it must be true, 'cause somebody wrote an article! On the Internet! Well, douche my asshole with ginger juice! Next thing you know, they'll be talking about it on Fox and Friends, and if they're talking about it, it's all over the the iPad! Shee-da-Dip-da-Dee... itt. All this does is show how stupid so-called analysts are, as well as the media and the investors who listen to them, going all chicken-little when some gold-mine product starts to level-off a bit. These are the same asshats who wrote the iMac will never sell, and wrote nobody would ever want to buy a phone with a touch screen and no buttons that surfs the internet.

  • When everyone has an iPad that serves their needs and newer models provide nothing new, why buy a new one? Also, when the two year's phone hardware update doesn't do anything new, eventually some folks will decide a new phone is not necessary, iPhone or Android.
  • Can anyone answer the question as to what the use case for an iPad Pro is?

    I have an iPad Mini which I use for watching films on the plane. It's never been overly useful for much else except maybe as a lightweight e-book reader.

    If you already own an iPad of some flavor or another, getting an iPad Pro doesn't really make much sense as opposed to simply buying a keyboard cover from Logitech for example.

    Once Microsoft released the Surface Pro, I pretty much stopped using the iPad for much of anything other than
  • Great products don't need replacing. The iPad works. It does what it needs to do. This means you don't have to keep buying new ones.

    People who do upgrade sell theirs which produces market saturation as people who can't afford the new ones buy the old ones.

    That is an environmentally sound product as it produces less waste.

    Another great product is the Mac. Macs last far longer than Windows PCs and the lifetime cost of ownership is far lower.

    Again, Apple does right.

  • The first generation iPad was a hit because they were first to market. And the first generation one still holds up well even against the newer Android tablets. My wife has a 1st gen iPad that she still uses every day. Her only complaint was the weight of it so I got her an iPad mini and she loves it. Both of them are built like a tank and the battery life is still amazing even after umpteen charges.

    That's why I say it's like a microwave. It does all the basic functions really well and they don't break down.

  • by grahamtriggs ( 572707 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @05:06AM (#51759443)

    Lets cut to the chase - the market for tablets will always be smaller than phones. For many people, the phone will do enough, and for others they will have a laptop that the tablet can not completely replace.

    But that's not really a problem - tablets are viable as long as they are profitable. They don't have to break sales records. And as they are essentially phones with larger screens and batteries, as long as you are producing phones as well, the marginal cost of developing tablets as well is relatively small.

    Ultimately though, we're just doing the wrong thing comparing tablet sales with phone sales, just because they are considered "gadgets". The key difference is the way we purchase them.

    So many phones are purchased on contract, with subsidized prices. People aren't faced with a high ticket price, and the contracts are encouraging us to change our phones every 12 - 24 months.

    With tablets, we are generally paying that high ticket price, and the performance of the devices and complexity of apps are not increasing quickly enough to drive fast upgrades.

    Tablets have a naturally lower sales rate than the devices we are comparing them to, and not making unrealistic sales expectations is not the death knell.

    The biggest threat to the iPad may be the success - or lack of - the iPhone 7. Due to the nature of the ecosystems, we're far more likely to own a tablet with an OS that matches our phone, As long as we keep consuming iPhones, the iPad will still take it's share of the tablet market. If people move away from iPhones - maybe because of a possible headphone jack removal - then the tablet sales will likely drift away too.

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