Quarterly Results and the Future of the iPad

Apple’s holiday quarter results came out today. It was a record quarter by most measurements, but a slight disappointment to stock analysts. They were looking at things like the next quarter’s guidance numbers. No matter to us users, though. Apple sold a lot of stuff and made a lot of money.

But one factor is getting a little bit of attention. iPad sales were down 25 percent from last year. I see a lot of people talking about this, but ignoring the obvious reason why: there was no new iPad. Simple as that.

The current iPad is the iPad Air 2, which came out in November 2014. Apple didn’t replace it with anything in 2015. Sure there was a bump to the iPad mini and a new iPad Pro, but those are variations to the main product.

If you own an iPad Air 2, there was nothing new to buy. There was no upgrade. The iPad Pro is a specialty product with a high price. I didn’t get one because I see it as being more for people with graphic talents than a coder/geek/hacker/gamer like myself. If I could draw, even just enough to make it a hobby, I would have been all over it. But otherwise my iPad Air 2 is the perfect tablet for me until the iPad Air 3 comes out.

So what’s in the future for the iPad line? Well, a successor to the iPad Air 2 is the obvious thing. I see it as being an equivalent to the iPad Pro with the 9.7-inch screen size. It will have force-touch and the Pencil. That’s why we didn’t get it in November. If they iPad Air 3 and the iPad Pro had the same features then many people would have passed on the Pro. The larger screen is an advantage and a disadvantage. By holding off on a force-touch and Pencil-compatible iPad Air, Apple gave the iPad Pro a chance to succeed.

I think the release date of the next iPad Air depends on iPad Pro sales. If they continue to be strong, Apple will hold off. If it looks like everyone that wanted a Pro got one, then they might as well go with a mid-year release of an iPad Air 3.

What do you think? Will Apple come out with a new Air soon? Will it be a medium-sized version of the Pro?

Comments: 11 Responses to “Quarterly Results and the Future of the iPad”

    Chris Laarman
    1/26/16 @ 8:59 pm

    Judging from my own use of my own devices, a new iPad model would not be necessary now. Instead, I wonder about new models for the lesser (non-Retina and Core M) MacBooks. These would to some extent constitute the “bigger brothers” of the iPad Pro, which in turn is the “bigger brother” of the standard iPad.
    I see my iPad Pro as some Retina MacBook with iOS instead of OS X. That is against my wish, but it may be wise after all.

    Bill (William)
    1/27/16 @ 3:44 am

    I think market saturation must come at some point. I have bought an iPhone 5s and use an iPad2 without wi-fi because I can always tether it to the iPhone. I avoided the iPhone 6 because I have the iPad Air 2. It seems to me the large screen iPhone and the iPad are in danger of being in competition with each other. Better a small screen phone and a large screen iPad as the optimum combination.

    Rob
    1/27/16 @ 6:27 am

    I think Apple lost focus on the tablet, and should have been developed a hybrid MacBook Air w/touch screen. Microsoft has been making great strides with the surface, perfecting the OS with user interaction. If I recall wasn’t Apple’s goal to meld iOS with MacOS at some point? I really see lack of innovation as Apple collects on repeat gadgets every year. They cannot expect people to continue to drop $500 on a tablet every year. This is feasible for phones because annual contracts.

    Paul
    1/28/16 @ 9:17 am

    I have iPad Air 2 and bought wife a Pro. I love the Pencil and crave making handwritten notes on my iPad. UNFORTUNATELY, non-Pencil styluses (?) writing experience is like dragging a tire, or piece of ice, over a car hood. Pencil could be a game changer for me.

    Michelenp
    1/28/16 @ 9:40 am

    I love my iPad 2 and my 6s+. Would like to see a USB port. I don’t use my Mac air as much which replaced a desktop. Do most of my reports on the iPad

    Denny Mulqueen
    1/28/16 @ 10:01 am

    As Bill said:
    “Better a small screen phone and a large screen iPad as the optimum combination.”
    I have always been surprised that anybody wanted big screen iPhones. IPads take care of that. An iPhone is primarily a TELEPHONE.

    Gary
    1/28/16 @ 10:36 am

    re: Iphone is primarily a telephone.

    Maybe for you. For many people, the iphone has become their PRIMARY computing device. They do not carry an ipad, and rarely fire up their computer anymore. Check some of the research. Or hand around some 20-30 year olds.

    Bill (William)
    1/28/16 @ 10:55 am

    My guess is that if you could produce an iPad from which it was possible to make phone calls, you might have a winner. As it is, you can Skype and FaceTime from an iPad – which means that the iPad can compete with the phone for transmitting voice.

    Norm Dinger
    1/28/16 @ 2:11 pm

    I think if you use the Viber app you can use the iPad as a phone, I do this with an iPod touch.

    Per Falkjær
    1/29/16 @ 2:27 pm

    The reason why big screen phones is a great hit is because in other countries the alphabet takes up much more space than the US keyboard – especially in Asia!

    John Stires
    1/29/16 @ 4:53 pm

    I bought an iPad Pro in December “knowing” I’d put it to good use (high-end photography.) Nada. I bought the pen, it’s in its box. I bought the keyboard/cover; it remains unopened. I think I could use an extra $grand right about now. Phooey.

Comments Closed.