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Handhelds Apple

iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling 386

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Christina Bonnington reports that the public is not gobbling up iPads like they used to. Analysts had projected iPad sales would reach 19.7 million but Apple sold 16.35 million iPads, a drop of roughly 16.4 percent since last year. 'For many, the iPad they have is good enough–unlike a phone, with significant new features like Touch ID, or a better camera, the iPad's improvements over the past few years have been more subtle,' writes Bonnington. 'The latest iterations feature a better Retina display, a slimmer design, and faster processing. Improvements, yes, but enough to justify a near thousand dollar purchase? Others seem to be finding that their smartphone can do the job that their tablet used to do just as well, especially on those larger screened phablets.'

While the continued success of the iPad may be up in the air, another formerly popular member of Apple's product line is definitely on its way to the grave. The iPod, once Apple's crown jewel, posted a sales drop of 51 percent since last year. Only 2.76 million units were sold, a far cry from its heyday of almost 23 million back in 2008. 'Apple's past growth has been driven mostly by entering entirely new product categories, like it did when it introduced the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010,' says Andrew Cunningham. 'The most persistent rumors involve TV (whether a new Apple TV set-top box or an entire television set) and wearable computing devices (the perennially imminent "iWatch"), but calls for larger and cheaper iPhones also continue.'"
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iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

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  • by spudnic ( 32107 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:18AM (#46831649)

    Larger pocket assistants that just so happen to have cell phone capabilities.

  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thyamine ( 531612 ) <thyamine.ofdragons@com> on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:20AM (#46831661) Homepage Journal
    I suppose someone has to mention obvious things, so you have this article. I had an iPad 2 and it was great and lasted me several iterations. I only just got a new one for Christmas this year. So... yes. People who have one already aren't going to run out and just get a new one because it's new. And there are some decent Android ones out there for people who don't want an iPad.

    Same with the iPod, everything can play music now. My iPad and phone included, so sure. The idea of an iPod that ONLY plays music is sort of a dated concept. My wife loves her nano and small iPods for the gym, which makes sense for working out and instances where you only need music. But in general, things like browsing the web or running apps is basically expected now, regardless of the ecosystem or OS. Now, I don't want to _have_ to buy a phone to play music, but when I can store it all on a device that I'm already carrying around, why would I bother with an extra device like an iPod (or any music player).
  • by bazmail ( 764941 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:34AM (#46831735)
    Discolsure: I am not an apple fan and do not own any apple gear.

    Apple's entire business is based on breaking new ground with an innovative new product, exploiting that products uniqueness before the rest start copying them and flood the market with "me too" devices. Then Apple has to move on to something else.

    This "running to stand still" existence cannot go on indefinitely. When they fall it will be spectacular and kind of sad to be honest as, love them or hate them, they are a huge catalyst for change in the tech industry.
  • by Pascal Sartoretti ( 454385 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:35AM (#46831737)

    So why would I want to use a new one yet?

    If you have the original iPad, there are plenty of reasons to upgrade (size, speed, limited to iOS 5, etc.)

    But my iPad 2 still works very fine, I see no reason to replace it.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:39AM (#46831771) Homepage Journal

    I think he was talking about the non-removable battery and performance-crippling OS updates.

  • by bazmail ( 764941 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:46AM (#46831813)
    Calling a modern mobile device a "cell phone" is like calling your car "a horse".
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:51AM (#46831861) Journal
    I suspect that attrition is markedly higher on phones, given how much more time they spend being incautiously handled while out and about, that has to help. The cell-contract-upgrade churn probably doesn't hurt either.
  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @09:20AM (#46832069) Journal
    That's a bit harsh. There are still nice games out there that are free (with or without ads) or cost a modest sum up front, with no in app purchases except perhaps a level pack. I'm fine with that. And as a (hobby-ish) developer, I know how hard it used to be to sell apps world wide and collect money for it. Today, anyone in the world can buy my app with a few clicks, and Apple dutifully dumps money into my bank account at the end of every month.

    I wouldn't call the app concept failed, in fact I think it's a huge success. The one thing missing from the app store in my opinion is a refund feature. You should be able to try out an app for a day at no charge,
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @09:24AM (#46832091) Journal

    Apps are becoming progressively worse, not better, over time. In the early days there were a lot of cool apps written by people who just wanted to write cool apps for a cool new tool.

    Now with the preverse incentives of the app market, the app store is saturated by apps trying to squeeze a maximum amount of money for a dwindling amount of useful application.

    Ironically, that's basically the same squeeze that Apple has traditionally profited by avoiding in the hardware market:

    The customers says "I want a cheap computer!".

    Apple says "No, you want a low price tag; but the computer you want actually costs $1000, no less."

    HP/Dell/Acer/etc. says "We got the price down to $300! 1366x768 is 'HD', right, even on a 15 inch screen?"

    In a great many cases, Apple has been correct: users shop for price; but getting the price they want also involves getting a product that dissatisfies them, often in a series of unpleasant surprises over time. They do give up serving some customers by refusing to hit lower price points(oh, you wanted to get an i3 rather than an i5 or i7 and spend the savings on a better GPU? That's too bad.); but they force their customers to buy what they suspect is the product they actually want, rather than the price they actually want.

    In the app store, of course, you have the same knife-fight-in-a-telephone-booth margins, and this has led to exactly the same gnawing, incremental, suck. Sure, everything is Free! or Only 99 cents!; but the amount of sheer crap and apps that spring a series of disappointments and annoyances and nickle-and-dime attempts on you is really grating.

    As with hardware, this ultimately makes people less happy. The demands of 'app' pricing are such that it's very hard to actually move units if you just let the user pay once, upfront, and then live happily ever after; but a dollar worth of software isn't going to be pretty unless it either sells a zillion units(since copying is more or less free, though support isn't), or it actually has a hidden higher price tag, which is a dirty and unpleasant game even if you would have been willing to just pay that much upfront.

    It would be interesting to know how the story went inside Apple HQ as they added things like in-app purchases, set minimum prices/price increments/etc. for the store, and so on. Did they fail to foresee the problem? Saw it coming but figured that so long as their platform and hardware remained nicer it wouldn't hurt them since it would happen to the competition as well? Felt forced into it? (if so, by Android? by online/partially online stuff that got money out of users on the desktop/browser side and offered free mobile clients? by concern over some other potential competitor?)

  • "Officially," eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elistan ( 578864 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @10:03AM (#46832463)

    Hmm. iPad sales:

    Q2 2014 - 16.35 million.
    Q2 2013 - 19.5 million.
    Yes, that's a drop in sales.
    But, it's after the following:
    Q1 2014 (includes holiday shopping) - 26.0 million.
    That's the all-time high sales volume for iPads in a quarter. 2nd best is Q1 2013 at 22.9, significantly less.

    In my mind, the way to interpret these recent iPad sales numbers is that there was a huge buying spree for the holidays that somewhat satiated demand. (Only somewhat - Q2 2014 is still the 4th best quarter for sales.) These numbers don't suggest to me that the "fever is officially cooling." Maybe it is, but more than just one quarter of numbers is needed to show that.

  • Tablets (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Somebody Is Using My ( 985418 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @10:04AM (#46832469) Homepage

    The iPad - and tablets in general - fill an odd niche that is likely close to capacity. Despite claims about how tablets would replace computers, it quickly becomes obvious to any who have to work on a computer that the tablet form-factor is not sufficient for the task. For the average computer user, the tablet falls into an strange zone where it is both too large and too small. On the one hand, after using a tablet for a while, you will very quickly realize that a larger monitor, a keyboard and a pointer that doesn't involve touching the screen are all very desirable things to have. Sure, you can add these peripherals to a tablet, but if you are going down that route - essentially chaining yourself to a desk again - the limited processor and storage of the tablet and it's higher price means it makes more sense just to buy a proper PC. Meanwhile, if all you want is a portable data-access device - something you can carry around with you at all times to check out the scores or look up some random fact on Wikipedia - then the tablet is suddenly /too/ large; it cannot be conveniently stuck in a pocket like a smart phone.

    Tablets are wonderful little machines for two sorts of people. First, those who aren't heavy computer computer users; the grandmothers of the world who check their email once a day. The tiny screen and on-board keyboard are no major inconvenience because they don't use either enough for it to become a significant problem. The small form factor means the tablet is easy to tuck away when not in use (unlike the big bulky computer which dominates whatever corner it sits in) and its uncomplicated OS makes it easy to use. The other group are people who want it solely for media consumption, whether that takes the form of watching a movie, listening to music, reading articles on the web or playing uncomplicated games. Some of this latter group will also have a proper computer and use the tablet as a supplementary device.

    But the idea that the tablet was going to supplant the computer - and all its sales - is patently false. Its niche are users who either didn't really need a computer, (or needed it so rarely that they saw no need to upgrade regularly), or people who considered it an entertainment device that they expected - like a TV or game console - to last far longer than Apple's usual product cycle. These groups just don't see the importance of getting a new tablet every two years, even if it does have an Apple logo on it.

    I like tablets; I own several and have found uses for all, but they are not the revolutionary industry-changing machines that some people thought them to be. They are useful and - like desktops - will probably remain with us until we all finally get cyber-brain implants but they are still just a small part of the overall computer ecosystem. If Apple - or any other major computer company - thought they could depend on tablets alone to maintain them, they should rethink that strategy.

  • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @10:29AM (#46832693)

    Apple's entire business is based on breaking new ground with an innovative new product, exploiting that products uniqueness before the rest start copying them and flood the market with "me too" devices. Then Apple has to move on to something else.

    The smartphone market has been flooded with iPhone copies for years now, yet iPhone sales continue to grow. Their Mac division is still profitable and growing, despite it being decades old.

    I agree that Apple get a huge first-mover advantage - this is to be expected. But I think you're dead wrong about Apple being reliant upon it. Apple will still be making money hand over fist with the iPhone when it's a decade old. They don't need to move away from old products at all.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @10:36AM (#46832775) Journal
    Oh, I have no interest in defending Apple's status as good value for money(sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't, if your desires don't match their preferred configurations, they are very unlikely to be). Aside from that being a tedious argument (and my being one of the people who Apple isn't interested in serving), it's orthogonal to my intended observation:

    In the PC hardware market, and now in the 'app store', it is very easy to buy less product than you actually need/want, especially if you don't have a clear idea of what that is, or you want something that happens to be early on the chopping block when it's cost-cutting time. This makes people who aren't clear on what they want, or who suffer from excessive time discounting and fall for low introductory pricing (see also, 'No money down!' and 'free with 2 year contract!'), unhappy. If it gets especially severe, even people who are clear on what they want can suffer, because the features they want suffer a vicious cycle of reduced marketshare, increased prices because of lower economies of scale, and further reduced marketshare (seen many 16:10 monitors recently?).

    It's interesting to see this happen in Apple's precious little 'App Store', since they have very tight control over its terms(they could, say, have refused to add in-app purchases) and only jailbroken devices and developers can even execute software they don't approve, so there are no commercially relevant 3rd party channels. Even in the face of substantial pressure, they've always been aggressively against it in hardware, and yet they sit and watch it happen under their very noses in their own walled garden on the software side.

    It's also somewhat interesting in comparison with their handling of books, music, and video. Set up an illegal cartel with all major book publishers in order to fix a higher sale price; but voluntarily set the minimum price for software at free or 99 cents, rather than higher? It's a curious difference.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Thursday April 24, 2014 @10:39AM (#46832797) Homepage Journal

    The cost of an iphone is cheaper than the cost of an ipod PLUS a second device to make phone calls and surf the web.

    If you're willing to drop the requirement to surf the web while outside of Wi-Fi range, an iPod touch plus a dumbphone supporting only voice and SMS costs less than an iPhone, and its service costs less per month than iPhone service.

  • by Crudely_Indecent ( 739699 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @10:47AM (#46832883) Journal

    My iPad 1 got slower and slower with each update, until IOS 5, when the updates cease. Now, many apps in the app store cannot be installed on my iPad 1 because the IOS version doesn't meet the criteria for the apps.

    I keep it around because I must support iPad 1 for some of my customers, but its usefulness is fading - as designed.

  • by dinfinity ( 2300094 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @11:38AM (#46833213)

    Or, we just call them PDA's.

    You know, the term that was perfectly acceptable until some marketing asshole came up with the idiotic term 'smartphone'.

  • by Bryan Ischo ( 893 ) * on Thursday April 24, 2014 @01:31PM (#46834217) Homepage

    Am I the only person in the USA with kids under 10 who has not bought an iPad (or any pad?). I know they're great pacifiers but I tend to avoid pacifiers. No cell phone that can play games either. When I take my family to dinner, we talk, joke, and draw with crayons and pencils. When we're at home, the kids play inside or outside. They don't sit and stare at iPads or cell phones in either context.

    I'm trying really hard not to be judgemental because I know that everyone has their own way of doing things and there is no single right way. And certainly a moderate amount of pad/phone use is fine, similarly to how just about everything in moderation is fine.

    But when I go to restaurants and I see 90% of the kids just sitting there watching or playing on a pad and not interacting with anyone, I just can't help but feel like there is something wrong. And when my kids go over other kids houses and I see how much of those other kids lives revolves around playing games or watching things on handheld devices like pads and phones, I conclude that for some kids, being pacified with these devices is a regular part of the daily routine.

    And so to avoid ever even being able to get into that rut, I haven't bought any such device and do not intend to do so.

    Once again, trying hard not to be judgemental, but as everyone who has kids probably knows already, child rearing decisions are some of the hardest things *not* to be judgemental about, as they are so personal and the stakes feel so high.


  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @01:33PM (#46834239) Homepage Journal

    Holy hell, how did you get a "+5, Insightful" for getting it exactly backwards? Apple's strength is doing things WELL, not doing things FIRST.

    1998 - iMac - first all-in-one? No.
    2001 - iPod - first digital music player? No.
    2003 - iTunes Store - first place to buy digital content online? No.
    2007 - iPhone - first touchscreen smartphone? No.
    2010 - iPad - first tablet computer? No.

    > Apple's entire business is based on breaking new
    > ground with an innovative new product

    Their innovation is making you say "wow, a cool tech product that isn't a giant piece of shit! This is what I wanted when people first started talking about _______!" They do this by innovating key refinements, usually with the goal of "ease of use."*

    And given that there are plenty of shitty, underserved markets out there, I think they'll continue to do OK.

    * I.e., they didn't make the iPhone with a capacitive touchscreen and hardware-accelerated GUI just because those specs look cool when listed on the side of the box -- they did it because it made the (properly-designed) interface extremely responsive, natural, realistic, and therefore easy to use.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @02:54PM (#46834813) Homepage Journal

    Apple's entire business is based on breaking new ground with an innovative new product, exploiting that products uniqueness before the rest start copying them and flood the market with "me too" devices. Then Apple has to move on to something else.

    Which is why they've stopped making iPhones now that the market is flooded with cheap Android devi... oh, wait, they didn't.

    Apple continues to improve its products, and it also makes fairly high quality stuff. My next desktop computer will be a Mac in part because I happen to prefer OS X over the abomination that is windows and the amateurish copycat that is the Linux desktop (not talking about servers here, all my servers run Linux), but also because of all the desktop computers I've ever owned, only my old C64 was more reliable and lasted longer.

    This "running to stand still" existence cannot go on indefinitely.

    Why not? Whether or not its true, there are other companies and even entire industries that work the same way, for example the fashion industry, and plenty of people have had a lifetime of employment from that.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.