Why slowing iPad sales didn’t surprise Apple and shouldn’t surprise you

“Here’s the headline: ‘Apple only sold 13.2 million iPads in its fiscal third quarter,'” Kevin C. Tofel reports for Gigaom. “Cry me a river.”

“Yes, the quarterly sales are down from the prior three months and the year-ago period. Apple sold 16.3 million iPads in the first three months of this year and 14.6 million in the fiscal third quarter of 2013,” Tofel reports. “Look at the iPad sales data since Apple’s tablet debuted and you can a broader view of the same thing: The iPad sales growth rate overall has slowed of late.”

“I don’t think this is cause for alarm. Expecting iPad sales growth to mirror that of the iPhone, which is still on a relatively stronger upward direction, is unreasonable for a number of reasons.,” Tofel reports. “Most people don’t upgrade their tablets as often as they upgrade their phones. While there will always be some people who upgrade tablets as often as they change handsets — OK, guilty as charged here — most people don’t fit that mold.”

“As noted by Founder and Chief Analyst at Jackdaw Research, Jan Dawson, who expects a big upgrade cycle for the iPad, Apple’s tablet line is ‘generating revenues of $5-10 billion per quarter, or an annual run rate of about $30 billion, bigger than McDonald’s or Time Warner,'” Tofel reports. “Excuse me if I don’t shed any tears for Apple’s $30 billion iPad problem.

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

24 Comments

        1. I bought mine the day it came out… you probably did too. It does seem like a while ago.

          The original iPad only came out 4 years and 4 months ago and it arguably became obsolete via software (meaning it couldn’t run iOS 6 or 7) Sep 19th 2012. It was only out for 2 1/2 years when iOS 6 was introduced.
          That’s a bit disgusting to me. I’m all for progression but come on.

          I’m happy to know iPad 2 and newer will run iOS 8. That gives iPad 2 at least another 2 years before iOS 9 comes out. Giving it a life span of at least 5 years. Now that’s a bit more reasonable.

          I feel 5 years is reasonable. Others may or may not agree.

          1. I think the first of any new type of device seems to be the one that gets the shortest OS upgrade life span. Follow up devices better settle in for the long haul. That being said I wouldn’t have missed that first iPad (or iPhone) for anything.

            1. The original iPad still works, that’s the main thing. That it doesn’t support the latest iOS is almost a blessing in some instances. For example, the newer version of Scrabble mightily vexed some fans, who can’t downgrade on newer iPads. The trusty old version still operates on the original iPad in all its funky glory.

            2. I have a few Macs still in great shape and stuck at earlier versions of OS X and that’s a blessing too. I liked the earlier version of Scrabble too but the new one is OK, just a little annoying.

  1. Upgraded from original to 3rd Gen WiFi version. Won’t upgrade again until LTE advanced is built-in and data plans are either unlimited or much less per MB.

    I could go sooner if there is something added in addition to Touch ID such as a 3D scanner, larger size at same pixel or greater pixel density, built in gesture sensor, or the capability for a narrower stylus.

    Otherwise it is the best computing device I’ve ever had other than the iPhone.

    Also would be nice to have a better front camera for video blogging and selfie purposes.

  2. A couple of quarters of slow iPad sales and pundits start yelling the sky is falling for Apple. So stupid. iPad sales will wax and wane depending on upgrade cycles. It will probably end up being every two to three years or so. I don’t see anything wrong with that. iPads are built to last. They’re not like socks or underwear. Why should investors think iPad sales will grow quarter after quarter? Even if Apple does become aggressive with iPad sales for education and health institutions, they’ll eventually reach another plateau and sales will slow again if iPads are built to last a long time.

  3. There is plenty of room for growth in the enterprise. Heck, there is still growth to be had in the group of people who own smart phones but no tablets. As Apple grows it’s smartphone market share, tablet sales will follow, although not at the same rate. I think Apple needs to look for ways to deploy semi-dedicated iPads. If Maps were better, I’d mount a Mini in my car, leave it there, and then buy another. It’s less expensive than a dedicated head unit and could provide all the functionality I need with a bigger more gorgeous screen. iPads make great cash registers, as well. I suspect there are many untapped markets for dedicated tablets. As far as I know, Apple barely moved in this direction. They leave it for app developers. So maybe Apple wants me to put an iPad in my car to run Waze. It’s not compelling enough. But Apple Maps (if it was improved to be at least as good as my Garmin) plus CarPlay, that would be something I would do.

    1. For those who aren’t as old as dirt, Fred Mertz was the neighbor on The Lucy Show.

      For those who still aren’t as old as dirt, The Lucy Show was a sitcom from the early 1960’s.

  4. Agreed. Last year I upgraded two iPads to airs but this year it will only be one unless it is earthshaking. iPhones can last two years or more, but with subsidy, people switch. Once everyone has to pay full freight, sales will slow down too.

  5. Had every generation and just pass down to kids and grandkids …. The first generation purchased April of 2010 is still going and works just fine for 5 year old!

  6. We bought a iPad2 4 years ago and then upgraded to the iPad3. The iPad2 was sent to my parents in the UK (we’re in the US). I also bought a iPad Mini about 2 years ago.

    So the question is – why do I need to buy another one. The iPad2 still works for my folks (with whom we FaceTime with). My wife still uses her iP3 and I’m happy with the iP mini.

    So why buy a new one? I don’t have a good reason so will not buy. Kappish?

  7. IMO, iPad 2/iPad mini with A5 are powerful enough for the things most people do with iPads, read, surf, watch movies/videos.

    Reasons to upgrade then become luxuries, LTE, Retina, Lightning connector, lighter weight, longer battery life.

    One reason that would get me to upgrade would be incompatibility with the current OS. I applaud Apple for NOT arbitrarily moving on faster in phones, pads, or computers.

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