A new article at WIRED entitled “How the iPad Went From Massive to ‘Meh’ in 5 Short Years” attempts to throw cold water on the iPad and its plight over the past five years.
The article makes a few valid points:
Apple hasn’t figured out many new things to do with the iPad to bring back the old excitement. During the October keynote to launch the latest model, Apple executives gushed and gushed and gushed about how *thin* the new iPad was. And it is! The iPad Air 2 is thin, elegant, and so light it just might float right off your lap. But the drama is gone.
Yes interest has waned. Apple’s latest quarterly report showed a decline of 22% in iPad sales over Q1 last year (a record year for them), but Apple still sells more iPads than Macs. In fact, Apple sold 68 MILLION iPads last fiscal year. But is the sales stabilization of the iPad something for Apple to be alarmed about?
The market for the iPad still exists. But unlike the iPhone, the technology is more stable for a longer period. I have an iPad 4, which means it’s two generations back (behind the iPad Air and Air 2). It has a retina display and runs the latest iOS.
Simply put, I don’t need a new iPad.
Nothing about the new iPads are that much better or different than the one I currently use. They may be slightly faster, thinner, and have touch scan access, but is that really a reason for me to drop $500+ on a new iPad? No. And I like it that way.
I don’t want to have an iPad that needs replacing every two years like my phone because a new model came out and mine won’t support the new iOS. Or one that’s not durable enough to last me four to five years. I’m guessing other iPad owners feel the same.
The critics argue that the iPad is a spork. It’s the middle ground between the phone and the laptop. They say there’s not a long term market for it. I completely disagree. Yes it does the same things as my phone and computer. But there are so many things I do on my iPad that I wouldn’t want to do on my phone or computer.
The iPad is about media consumption. Try watching a soccer or football game on an iPhone. Even if you have a 6+, the screen is still not ideal. On a laptop, you’re limited with battery life, no multitasking, and the likelihood of choppy video because of the bandwidth required for smooth video.
The iPad eliminates several of those issues. The screen size is more than adequate. The battery life is great. Multitasking is an afterthought, and the video always plays more smoothly on my iPad than my Macbook Air.
iPads have a place. They have a market. And with more than 100 million unit sales, they are a successful product and part of the future of Apple. As they should be.
So all the iPad naysayers, turn down the hate and go watch some Netflix on your Microsoft Surface 2 that’s being discontinued.
It’s all about upgrade cycle.
I’ve got a Core2Duo MacBook Pro that’s more than 5 years old. It’s showing some age on video rendering and processor intensive tasks, but switching to an SSD made the aging laptop feel brand new on daily tasks.
We’re still using a third-gen iPad at our house. The first one with retina display. Again, showing its age performance-wise, but still usable.
But I replaced my iPhone 5 with a 6 on release day because (1) the price is heavily subsidized, (2) the larger screen is a noticeable upgrade, along with Touch ID and ApplePay, and (3) way better battery life.