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Figuring Out the iPad's Place 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the glued-to-the-ceiling dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One of the most interesting notes from Apple's recent quarterly report was that iPad sales are down. Pundits were quick to jump on that as evidence that the iPad was just a fad, but there were still more than 16 million units sold. iPads, and the tablet market as a whole, clearly aren't a fad, but it's also unclear where they're going. They're not convincingly replacing PCs on one end or phones on the other. Meanwhile, PCs and phones are both morphing into things that are more like tablets. New form factors often succeed (or fail) based on what they can do better than old form factors, and the iPad hasn't done enough to make itself distinct, yet. Ben Thompson had an insightful take on people demanding desktop functionality from the iPad: 'This sounds suspiciously like the recommendation that the only thing holding the Macintosh back was its inability to run Apple II programs. It's also of a piece with the vast majority of geek commentary on the iPad: multiple windows, access to the file system, so on and so forth. I also think it's misplaced. The future of the iPad is not to be a better Mac. That may happen by accident, just as the Mac eventually superseded the Apple II, but to pursue that explicitly would be to sacrifice what the iPad might become, and, more importantly, what it already is.'"
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Figuring Out the iPad's Place

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  • by Hadlock (143607) on Friday May 02, 2014 @01:47PM (#46900975) Homepage Journal

    Seconding this. Apple's first attempt was so good that by the time they added a high resolution display, a faster processor and 3G for those who need it, it was a mature product with no more features to add within three generations. If you have a third gen iPad you don't need to upgrade for as long as you can get replacement screens and batteries for it.

  • Not surprising (Score:4, Informative)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Friday May 02, 2014 @01:51PM (#46901013)

    The tablet market gas gone through the early adopters and is maturing. It also appears to have a longer replacement cycle time than say cell phones, probably do to cost and newer models do not necessarily offer must have features, unlike phones which go from 2G-3G-4G LTE. Cost also figure into replacement time.

    Right know, iPads and other tablets are good enough, even several generations old ones, for the uses that do better on a tablet than a cell phone but don't need a PC to be acceptable. For example, reading eBooks, browsing the web, light office suite use, etc. Despite speed increases and better screens, a Gen 1 iPad is still pretty good at that so there in no compelling reason to shell out $500 or more for a new one.

    That said, tablets need to migrate beyond the "it's a mobile PC" mentality to becoming an information appliance that is used to get desired information in a variety of settings. In short, a mobile gateway to information that is now accessed in other ways and where a PC is to cumbersome and a phone too small.A good example is Synology's video viewer app. You can access videos from the NAS on an iPad (or phone) and use airplay to put it to a TV; bypassing a separate PC server for playback. If you leave the room you can continue to watch on the iPad or send it to another TV in the room you go to. In short, the iPad is the common connector for a better viewing experience; not a replacement viewer.

  • by immaterial (1520413) on Friday May 02, 2014 @02:10PM (#46901217)
    iPad sales aren't down at all - compare the combined q1 and q2 of last year and this year and they're basically even. The difference is for the 2013 fiscal year, Apple was unable to fulfill the holiday backlog in q1 so more sales fell in q2. This year that backlog didn't happen, so Apple had "record-breaking" sales in q1 and "omg-less-than-last-year!" sales in q2. This is a nonstory to anyone who puts the slightest thought into it.
  • by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Friday May 02, 2014 @02:11PM (#46901237) Homepage Journal

    a) it *has* an external port

    Whose licensing is controlled with an iron fist, compared to a lot of 1980s PCs that used standard (or at least unpatented) external interfaces.

    it has a screen *larger* than many of the first PCs

    True, the monitor in the old black-and-white "toaster" Macs (128K, 512K, 512Ke, Plus, SE, SE/30, Classic, Classic II) was smaller than the iPad's screen. But many of the PCs that preceded it had 240p video output compatible with standard-definition televisions. The Apple II and Commodore 64 sure did. And I think even by the early 1980s, televisions had surpassed that size.

    many people already use the iPad for real work

    Unlike Apple with the iPad, makers of 1980s PCs had no power to forbid particular applications. Developers' imagination and the hardware capacity were the only limits.

  • by m.dillon (147925) on Friday May 02, 2014 @02:53PM (#46901679) Homepage

    The real joke here is that the inventory issue was explained in the conference call and anyone who bothered to read the actual source knows that ipad sales were actually down only 3% or so, and roughly flat across two months. The whole tablet space is flattening out but all that means is that Apple will start pulling more market share from Android just as it has been doing with the iphone... in the markets that matter that is. This is more junk like the 'world wide market share' crap that's proven to be such a bad predictor of Apple's business the last year.

    Apple is "getting its clock cleaned by Android"? Only if you've had your head stuffed down a rabbit hole for the last 5 years. Helps those of us who actually spend a few minutes doing real research, I suppose, but I'm just flabbergasted at how little posters like you seem to know about Apple's business when you can literally find out with only a few keystrokes in a browser.

    -Matt

  • by FlyHelicopters (1540845) on Friday May 02, 2014 @02:54PM (#46901691)

    The iPad 4 actually is a nice upgrade over the 3. If you haven't used them side by size, which I have since I own both, you wouldn't notice.

    The 4 is quite simply double the speed of the 3, it feels much snappier and loads programs much faster than the 3 does.

    The Air? It is 40% lighter, which is tempting, but not enough to spend another $500.

    The Air 2 or Air 3, probably will get me to upgrade, but I'm moving to a 3 year upgrade cycle now and I'm unlikely to go back to buying a new one every year.

    Everyone I know has more or less reached this point with tablets and phones.

  • Re:Market saturation (Score:5, Informative)

    by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Friday May 02, 2014 @04:07PM (#46902461) Homepage

    Planned obsolescence is there in the form of an unreplaceable battery that will one day not hold a charge.

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

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