All iPads Why Apple Selling Fewer iPads Is Actually A Huge Achievement

Discussion in 'iPad' started by extricated, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. extricated, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015

    extricated macrumors 6502

    extricated

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    #1
    I saw this article from Mark Wilson at Fast Company. Although the title is somewhat misleading (clickbait?), I really liked his take.

    First, he talks about how sales may be down, but usage still is awesome.
    He shares, "People are reading books, watching Netflix, and surfing the web on their tablets, which, sales figures aside, should be the most important indicator of whether a product is really a "hit.""

    He goes on to give thoughts as to why older iPads are holding their own, and then wraps up with his reasoning behind the article title. Concluding with, "The platform’s waning sales are a testament to the design’s longevity ... there's no shame in a product reaching market saturation, so long as the customer is happy."
    "Let’s champion Silicon Valley for building something we don’t all need [to] throw out every two years. Good design means something is used, not replaced."
     
  2. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #2
    Yeah, I agree with him. We're all still spending money on stuff for it too and it probably makes up the cost of another iPad. :p
     
  3. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

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    #3
    I kinda agree with article. And he has a good point on the battery. My iPad 3rd gens battery dropped an insane amount of the years I had it. But it was still going a good 5-6 hours usage.

    But I don't think good battery is the reason Apple isn't selling more iPads. I think people feel they have enough reason to upgrade. People use their phones nonstop and take it every where and there's usally more change with the iPhone's then the iPads. But some people use their iPads for Netflix only don't think there is much difference between their iPad and new iPad's. If Apple were to bring an huge change or feature to a new iPad I think people with older iPads will be upgrading more then they are now.
     
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #4
    I use my iPad 2 a lot less now I have an iPhone 6 plus. But when I do, it's mostly surfing so it's more than adequate.
    Yes I prefer the weight of my wife's iPad Air, but not enough to justify the cost of a new one right now.
    Plus when the iPad was released, there wasn't much competition. now there are a number of other manufacturers out there at different price points.
    Still given Apples latest results, I doubt they are too worried.
     
  5. Harmonious Zen macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I think that's absolutely the reason. Most casual users of iPad won't notice any big difference between the iPad 3 and iPad Air 2, nor will they be inclined to upgrade their iPad 3 since they just use it for really basic tasks. But the important thing is that people are definitely using their iPads. When another revolutionary upgrade is released, Apple's laying the groundwork for another blockbsuter year. The problem is that revolutionary upgrades by definition don't happen often.
     
  6. AxiomaticRubric macrumors regular

    AxiomaticRubric

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    #6
    Regarding the year-over-year decrease in sales for the iPad, I put the blame squarely on the developers. There just aren't that many apps available that really push the iPad hardware to its limits. If there were more compelling apps that utilized more of the iPad's graphics capability than standard Quartz 2D drawing, we would probably see shorter upgrade cycles.

    Do we actually need apps like this? Of course not for the majority of business or production apps. Look at the history of the PC industry though. Traditionally it has been the games that drive most consumer hardware upgrades, not MS Office for example.

    Anyway, I agree that longer upgrade cycles are a win for the consumer. Only rabid shareholders and greedy analysts see this as a bad thing. I think we'll start to see the upgrade cycles shorten again when more games using the Metal API can offer the console-quality graphics we saw at WWDC last year. Eventually this could even threaten the Xbox / Playstation gaming duopoly as tablet graphics catch up to consoles in terms of performance.
     
  7. s2mikey macrumors 68020

    s2mikey

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    #7
    Just means that the devices are well made and last. Tablets are completely different than phones. Phone users are upgrade addicts too. Tablet users like me are content to upgrade every 3-4 generations and that's just fine.

    It's all good.
     
  8. Mivo macrumors regular

    Mivo

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    #8
    Which is a smart move on the developer's side. Ideally, you want as many people as possible to be able to use your product, so making it only for the small portion of potential customers that have the newest and latest hardware may get you some attention, but will probably yield fewer sales. For Apple's own software, this is different, but an app developer doesn't get a cut of the hardware sales.

    PC gamers don't buy a completely new machine every year, though. They gradually upgrade their hardware until eventually (after several years) they replace it entirely. The majority of PC games these days aren't overly cutting-edge, either, in part because so many are console ports, so they're not pushing the limit. Since desktop sales are still in free fall, and laptops have become more common, PC game developers seem to be more sensible to the issue also. It's different for hardcore gamers and games aimed at them.

    I wonder how many people buy an iPad chiefly for gaming. The absence of physical controls (external controllers are a bit cumbersome compared to dedicated devices like the 3DS or the Vita) are still a major downside, if you play on the iPad screen. My guess is that most people who buy an iPad use it for media consumption, browsing and for casual games. None of these activities requires annual upgrades. (And look at how much money relatively basic apps like Puzzle & Dragons or Candy Crush make, compared to "proper" games like, say, the ports of Icewind Dale, KOTOR, etc.)

    For a lot of people spending €/$600 every year on a new tablet is also not very feasible, especially if last year's iPad, or the one from two years ago, is still doing most things just fine. I don't buy a new TV set every year, and that is probably the closest comparison to what an iPad is to many people.

    Just speculating, though. :) I don't spend much time with "normal" people who aren't working in the IT or entertainment industry, and those all fall in the "Oooh, new gadget! *glee, happy dance!*" category.
     
  9. ephemeralreason macrumors regular

    ephemeralreason

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    #9
    I agree: I just moved from an iPad 2 to an Air 2. My wife now uses my still perfectly functioning 2 and I will keep my new Air 2 for at least a few years before upgrading as its a great machine and serves my computing needs very well.
     
  10. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    #10
    Apple selling fewer iPads is actually good for the customer. It means that people are holding on to their iPads longer, which means apple is cornered into providing better and longer support, making keeping a device for 4 years far more viable - e.g. the iPad 2.

    My iPad 2 isn't going anywhere till at least 2016. Its a great tablet, still does pretty much everything that an iPad Air does, just a bit slower.
     
  11. Cassady macrumors 6502a

    Cassady

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    #11
    Agreed.

    Sold my iPad 2, to fund something else – but the old iPad 1 is still going strong in the hands of my 4 year old son. SO's iPad Mini 1, daughter's iPad Mini 1, and my iPad Air are still chugging along nicely...

    I'm due an upgrade next year, so will probably get an iPad Air 2 – which will see my Air 1 going to the daughter, and her iPad Mini 1 going to the little guy. Will probably pass the iPad 1 on to my Mom, who's always been tech-averse (will try and convert her!)...

    Point is – that had I not sold the iPad 2, we would have been set for plenty of time still. I upgrade my iPhone without a moment's thought – but I always end up taking a bit longer examining if I really need to with an iPad.

    Will I keep buying them? Absolutely.
    Will I buy one as regularly as my iPhone? Nope.

    Does that mean the iPad is not as popular, or is somehow waning in popularity?

    I'd say that if my experience is anything like the countless millions of other iPad users (and I tend to think it is), then surely Tim Cook is right – and the usual Apple nay-sayers/doom-prophets are wrong?
     
  12. GBNova macrumors member

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    #12
    Sounds like a huge problem for Apple to me. At the end of the day they are still just a company that lives off making money. If they're not selling they're not making any.
     
  13. SusanK macrumors 68000

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    #13
    I'm sort of in this camp. If people are using Apple's old devices more than people who are buying other branded tablets how does this benefit Apple's profits?

    Please don't yell and scream at me Apple fanatics. I'm simply asking a question for information.

    Thank you.
     
  14. Ray Brady macrumors 6502

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    #14
    But they ARE making money. The genius of their plan is that they don't JUST make money off of the devices; they also profit from most of the content and software consumed on those devices. The way they maximize their profits is by creating devices that people enjoy using.
     
  15. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

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    #15
    Oh, that's definitely their problem. :rolleyes:
     
  16. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #16
    Not always. I use my iPad far more than my iPhone. The thing is, when I had the Air 2 (returned) I just really didn't feel it was worth the substantial ($1000 for 128GB, keyboard, AC, etc.) price from my iPad 3. In fact, my iPad 3 can do almost everything the new one can.

    And I used them side by side. Without a doubt the Air 2 was faster, but almost all apps and games only loaded a few seconds faster, nothing blow away. Safari was the biggest difference and was the biggest temptation, but still not enough. Apple needs to show me a compelling reason to upgrade.

    Personally, and maybe this would be a bad idea, i feel like Apple needs to cut support for A5 and A5X devices. As long as developers are forced to support them, their apps will be limited.
     
  17. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

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    #17
    I also went from a 3rd gen iPad to an iPad Air 2. But i love my iPad Air 2, and I felt there was a pretty nice speed bump. But I do play a lot of games on my iPad. And I do recognize that a speed bump will not enough for some people to upgrade. I hope Apple also sees this... I made a video showing the speed difference between the iPad Air 2 and the 3rd gen. And yup just a few seconds faster.


    I think Apple will cut off the A5 and A5X support this year though with iOS 9.
     
  18. Rodster macrumors 68040

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    #18
    Can you make a video comparing both UI's? Does the iPad 3 have blur effect enabled in control center?
     
  19. Traverse, Feb 1, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015

    Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #19

    Thanks for the video! And I should clarify this: I was underwhelmed by the iPad Air 2, but I would have kept the first one if it hadn't had uneven backlighting (severe) and the second one I bought had that screen distortion just by holding it issue (the first one did not). Between 2 bad units and the excessive vibration from the speakers I decided to wait one more year.

    Wil you keep your 3rd gen?

    Your video shows a large difference with the racing game, but for games like Infinity Blad there was too much of a difference, but there was a night and day difference with Safari. Like you said, I think Apple will drop support for A5 devices unless iOS 9 is a "Snow Leopard" type release.

    ----------

    The iPad 3 is weird. Apple disallowed the blur from Control Center, Notification Center, UI headers and toolbars, etc. (it's just ugly transparent, not color blur).

    BUT, there is color blur for the dock, Reminders app, and the home screen when in the app switcher. It look half done which is why I disabled it for a long time (it's enabled now just to mix it up.)
     
  20. Mivo macrumors regular

    Mivo

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    #20
    It's more complex, though. There is value in dominating a market segment. Look at Microsoft and Windows: There is a new Windows version every few years, but even know there are something shy of 30% of Windows PCs running XP, but when most of these people upgrade, they will again go for a PC with Windows, not OSX or Linux (some will, but the majority will stick to what they are familiar with).

    If Apple plays their cards well, this can happen with iOS users also. Granted, Android is more economically threatening to iOS than Linux or OSX are to Windows, but still, if you have the choice between buying an iPad that you know will be good and supported for four or five years, and an Android tablet that may fall apart and become unsupported in two years, paying a slightly premium price for the iOS device is more attractive. (One factor is the coming rise of Windows tablets, which will benefit from Windows dominating the laptop/PC market.)

    The immense growth of the past few years cannot continue. It's like expecting that one's honeymoon lasts forever. Five years ago, nearly nobody had a tablet. Now, millions have sold, and a lot of people either decided that it's not something they must have, or they are fine with the hardware they have.

    So at this point, the goal is to defend and stabilize the market position. That is: Making sure that people who currently use an Apple tablet will buy another Apple tablet (or at least an Apple product) when they upgrade. They will eventually. Not every year, but steadily (and also introduce their family members and children to the brand).

    It's all about the long-term.
     
  21. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

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    #21
    Well that really sucks. I was unbelievable lucky when I got a "perfect" Air 2. I really didn't think I would have after hearing about how much people had to return them.
    And I gave my 3rd gen to my dad. He only uses it for light web browsing and clash of clans.

    ----------

    I don't think I am going to make a video about it. I can get you screen shots if you want. Just tell me what you want to see. But Traverse was right on. The blurring is very weird.
     
  22. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #22
    I realize that variations occur when products are mass produced on this scale, but it was quite unbelievable how much there is with the iPad Air 2. My unit and one display unit I used had the distortion issue terrible (even the Apple Store employees commented on it), but yesterday my friend was at the mall so I went in an Apple store to kill time and used a random display unit that had a perfect screen and NO distortion (I actually tried to make it occur by gripping it abnormally tight, but nothing). There shouldn't be variation on that scale.
     
  23. ron7624 Contributor

    ron7624

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    #23
    I agree with the article as well. Thanks for sharing that. We don't always see the good stuff....
     
  24. Lloydbm41 macrumors 68040

    Lloydbm41

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    #24
    Sales of iPads are not stellar. Neither are Apple TV's. Or iMac's. Or iPods. Apple lives and dies by one product. As long as the iPhone sells over 200 million units a year, the other hardware doesn't really matter that much when it comes to the bottom line for investors and the Apple Board.

    If Apple doesn't meet sales #'s set by analysts for the iPad or iMac, the Apple stock barely moves down. If Apple misses sales #'s on the iPhone, OMFG everyone is screaming bloody murder to 'sell, sell, sell' or "Apple is doomed"!
     
  25. extricated thread starter macrumors 6502

    extricated

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    #25
    The whole tablet market is slowing down (except Lenovo, who posted gains), probably for the same reasons fewer folks are buying iPads.
    Apple just needs to dial back on production to avoid overstock; they still make money, just not as much.
    By focusing on a quality, durable product, they earn repeat customers when the inevitable upgrade comes along. I think they'll also get new customers from a few folks looking to replace/upgrade their other branded tablet.
     

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