No, Apple’s iPad is not dead, it’s just resting

“Tablets are still popular and sales are growing — 11% last quarter, to be precise, according to tech consultancy IDC,” David Goldman reports for CNNMoney. “Still, that’s a far cry from two years ago, when tablets were growing at a 60% clip. Meanwhile, the iPad has been in the doldrums, posting a 9% sales decline last quarter, which was preceded by a 16% slump the quarter before that.”

“There are three big obstacles facing the market that are impacting demand for tablets: Smartphones are getting bigger, tablets last a while and businesses aren’t buying them,” Goldman reports. “Tablets last a while. Unlike smartphones, there’s not much incentive to buy a new tablet every two years. Most people buy unsubsidized, Wi-Fi-only tablets without a contract from their wireless carrier. And there really isn’t that much difference between Apple’s new iPad Air and the original iPad that came out four years ago.”

MacDailyNews Take: The original iPad is stuck at iOS 5.1.1. It has no cameras. It has no gyroscope, which means it cannot run many apps. It has no Retina display. There are massive differences between the RAM-starved, 32-bit A4-powered original iPad and today’s 64-bit A8/M7-powered, high-performance, ultra-thin and light iPad Air.

“PCs are everywhere in corporations, but tablets are harder to come by. Corporate IT departments are notoriously slow at adopting new technologies, and security remains a concern. But that also means there’s a huge growth opportunity,” Goldman reports. “Apple and IBM announced a partnership earlier this month aimed at solving the corporate tablet problem… That’s why analysts think tablets could get a second wind later this year… So the tablet’s not dead. It’s just resting.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. The author went back a generation too far. He should’ve said there’s not much difference between the iPad 2 and the new iPad Air. Once Apple started slapping the dual core A5 into their devices, they became tons more futureproof than normal. You can comfortably use an iPad 2, iPad mini and iPhone 4S for years to come still.

    1. Actually, I’ve been using iOS 8 on an A5 powered iPad Mini and it has fairly serious performance issues. Beta one rendered the Mini effectively useless. I hope Apple tweaks iOS 8 a bit between now and the final release. However, based upon the initial performance and subsequent improvements over the first four betas, I am concerned iOS 8 will be a total dog on A5 powered devices.

        1. I don’t really fault Apple for this. They are adding cloud features under the hood that take CPU cycles. Optimizing the code stack for modern 64-bit hardware should take precedence, even if we need to ditch the old A5 equipment. That chip is nearly 4 years old now.

          Besides, they’ll probably get iOS 8 working passably on A5 by version 8.1! [sarcasm]

        1. Yes, it’s a beta, but it runs flawlessly on my iPhone 5S. And yet, the performance on the iPad Mini has been horrible – read: barely usable. Improvement in performance on the A5 has been negligible with betas two through four.

          As with iOS 7 and the A4 chip, I suspect iOS 8 won’t show love to the A5 chip until version 8.1.

    2. That’s the “problem” with Apple and the updated technology year after year.

      You want to jump to the new shiny device but just can’t really do it because the one you have works just fine.

  2. I have an original iPad and I just don’t feel the need to replace it, my iPhone is all I need out and about, my iMac sees major use at home, and when away from that, again my iPhone is perfect for me. 3 devices it overkill for me and an iPad just could not replace my iMac.

    1. Me too.
      Phone, iMac and Gen 1 iPad.
      When away from home the iPad covers e-mail&browsing duties as it does from the sofa at home. The power for serious work is still the iMac.

  3. He missed it a bit, but not by far.

    Most users tend to use their iPad for simple things (mail, web, FaceBook, book reading, managing pictures…). Even the original A4-powered iPad manages all that just fine. Very few people are running GarageBand on the iPad regularly in order to need all that muscle.

    Apple will live just fine. It will continue to be the most popular device in the category and in the battle against the desktop, it will continue to win. The initial growth rate was massive because there was untapped market. Now that it is moderately saturated, growth can no longer be positive, but it will still be growth.

    1. What you say makes a lot of sense. Apple has a solid iPad platform yet a few fools (not Goldman) come along and equate falling tablet sales growth with the death of a platform. Where do people get this idea that slowed sales means something isn’t being used anymore? As long as Apple provides content for that customer base, Apple will continue to make money.

      Apple came along and practically gave rebirth to a tablet platform that was stillborn for so many years. Product sales find their levels based on demand and can fall off at any time but can come back just as quickly. I don’t think any device has taken the tablet’s place just yet but I will admit that it’s possible the phablet has taken a small amount of the tablet’s market share away.

      Massive growth rates to flat growth rates doesn’t equal a dying platform. Are these people sure that our present economy isn’t affecting iPad sales?

    2. ” in the battle against the desktop, it will continue to win”

      1. You do realize that Apple makes desktops right?

      2. Tablets will never replace PCs. People are using tablets to replace the secondary PC.

  4. The second iPad (the iPad 2) is still a very competent computing device. I use one, and I do not feel limited in any way. It runs iOS 7 and will run iOS 8. The iPad mini (the non-Retina low-end model at $299) is still being sold as new, and it’s essentially the same in terms of performance specs as the iPad 2.

    So, MOST existing iPads are still perfectly fine and “up-to-date.” There is no need for customers to replace them (unless they own the original model), and there is no built-in motivator, such as a subsidy. Some customers do upgrade to the latest and greatest, but their old iPads are then re-sold to other customers (denying Apple of a sale).

    What Apple needs to do for iPad is to go larger. Once Apple can make a 12-inch iPad that is the same weight (or less) than the original iPad, Apple should do it. Give it a pixel density that is the same as the Retina iPad mini and iPhone, which will be around 3200×2400 resolution at 12-inch diagonal. With a narrow bezel along the long sides (like the iPad mini and Air), it won’t even be that much larger in overall size, compared to the original iPad.

    And the other move to push up iPad sales has already been taken by Apple. Increase sales to enterprise customers, with help from IBM.

  5. Mdn, tell it to my dad. He could care less about the camera and does t run apps. He uses it for web, email, and that’s really it. The annual update to the latest greatest super duper new iPad has never interested him. Maybe never will till v.1 dies in his hands.

  6. MacDailyNews says the original iPad is RAM-starved, but the iPad Air is too: 1 GB RAM for a 64-bit OS is really pushing it. When I open a second tab in Safari and come back to the first, it reloads. Applications like WinZip Pro crash with low memory errors when compressing files. Switching between apps causes them to reload.

    Om Malik had this specific complaint when talking about the iPad Air and the A7 SOC and said this reduces the longevity of the iPad Air…

  7. I do a lot of work on both iMac and iPad ….. I inspect roofs and wrote proposals for a loving and have found I can sell work using either …..

    iPad, MeasureMap Pro, pictures, Fotor, iPhoto for iPad where you can do layouts and post to web and Strip Design and I am in business ……

    Have sold jobs into six figures using either but the iPad is best for presentations and the ipad really solved my picture presentation / job picture problem ….

    Of course I have the latest iPad Air but my grandson is still using iPad 1 …. And other grandkids using iPads 2 and 3 ….. And remember Apple has a $99 battery replacement program so technically your iPad to iPad 3 iPad and Air can live quite a long time 5-7 years …..

    1. You make a good point. Different people have diverse needs for the iPad. Some here are happy using an early version iPad for simple email and browsing. Others do a lot more with it and could use a more powerful version. I have had three iPads and currently have the iPad air. I do all sorts of things with it including, taking notes, writing drafts of papers and presentations and taking photos of samples that go into my notes while performing analysis. I use the iPad when presenting to groups and to individuals. I look forward to a better iPad. I’d like to see Touch ID, a higher resolution digitizer and more RAM.

      I’m now using iDraw to make a precise diagram of my house including the positions of the support beams under the structure so we can have some work done on the foundation. I crawled around under the house with with a long tape measure and entered the dimensions into Notes on the iPhone then they showed up in Notes via iCloud on the iPad where I could use them to dimension the drawings in iDraw.

  8. It does seem like unlike the iPhone, the iPad has less room to grow and will hit a saturation point sooner with fewer people upgrading on a frequent basis.

    With an iPhone, due to the subsidy and “rental” plans, people can spend a fraction of their overall cost of the iPhone and upgrade even on a yearly basis. If you go two years, it’s typically a free upgrade.

    That’s a big difference. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a push for data plan subsidies on the iPad.

  9. The head of Best Buy says the ipad is “crashing”. Uh-huh. What he oughta be looking at is his own business.

    Let’s see: Good Guys, CompUSA, Circuit City…hmm, what do they all have in common? Oh right, they’re all GONE. (And Fry’s and Radio Shack apparently not far behind.)

    Its too bad most people wouldn’t prefer buying Apple products from Best Buy, instead of going to the Apple Store direct: maybe its the crappy customer experience and extended-warranty pressurizing.
    Thats why Apple created its retail stores to begin with…to avoid having to deal with the big-boxes that didn’t want to sell their products anyway unless they could throw them on a grubby shelf and slash their prices.
    (Hey Mr. Best Buy: if you want really successful retail, “brick-and-mortar” are over, its “glass-and-wood” now.)

    1. This is absurd. What is Best Buy supposed to do? Lie? And it is not as if they are the only outlet that reported the dropping sales of the iPad. Apple themselves reported it. Best Buy never wanted to sell the iPad to begin with? You mean 2 years ago when they were moving iPads like cheeseburgers and making billions in profit on them? If you recall, back then Best Buy reported – along with everyone else – a steep decline in Windows PC sales. So did Best Buy have a conspiracy against Windows PCs too? And if you were to talk to Best Buy now, they would also report a steep drop in Samsung phone sales. So they don’t like Samsung either? And the big box retailers were driven out of business by Amazon, not Apple stores. Except Amazon is your enemy too, right?

      “unless they could throw them on a grubby shelf and slash their prices.”

      Gee … so pricing products at a level that their customers can afford is EVIL eh?

      Goodness, this “I hate everyone but Apple” world that you live in is very small and miserable, isn’t it? Incidentally, the end of Best Buy will only help your hated Amazon with their Android tablets and phones, not to mention their cloud services that compete with your new enterprise partner IBM. Meanwhile, it won’t do a thing to help Apple stores, which will only be frequented by people who are determined to buy only Apple products (which is like 5% of the population). Best Buy going out of business will only remove the primary way that 95% of the population will physically try out an Apple device.

      Yes, I am an Android and Linux partisan. So what. In my many visits to Best Buy to search for my own hardware (a Windows 8 Toshiba PC that had great hardware that I got cheap and replaced the OS with Ubuntu) my kids tried out the MacBooks and iMacs and fell in love. I was going to push my kids onto Linux, but now it looks like my next computer purchase (for their sakes) will be a Mac Mini.

      So what a horrible, evil thing that Best Buy did to Apple, right?

  10. I wish people would quit claiming that iPads can replace Windows PCs. They can’t. They are different devices for different purposes. Tablets are good if you are on the go; if your job requires you to move around a lot, such as a factory floor manager or a doctor, and you need mobile computing. For most of these people the iPad doesn’t replace a device but is a new device that makes them more productive.

    And if you are a desk bound employee (the vast majority of corporate PC users) your iPad is a good secondary device to take to meetings because it is superior to taking your bulky laptop. But here is the deal: most corporations have never bought such secondary devices for the vast majority of their employees, and when they have it is usually a smartphone and not a tablet. (Note: major opportunity for the 5.5 inch phablet in the enterprise on this count, which is why it was important to block Android phablets by coming out with their own.)

    The idea that an iPad can replace a laptop for people who have to do serious, intensive work like programming, IT, marketing etc. is ridiculous. Or rather, if you believe that, then how come no one claims that an iPad can replace a MacBook Air? It is only the Windows PCs that people claim that the iPad will replace, not the MacBook Air. Except that a MacBook and a Windows PC do the same thing. A MacBook is better, sure, but a better version of the same thing.

    It is like claiming that a motorcycle replaces a car. Sure … try taking the wife and your 2 month old baby to church on a motorcycle when it is 15 degrees outside. It isn’t about IT departments being slow to adopt new technology. It is about not being able to do the work on an iPad that you can do on a PC.

    Sure, maybe you can attach a bluetooth keyboard, bluetooth mouse etc. to a docking stand so you can use it to simulate a laptop or PC. But A) that still leaves the 10′ screen that nobody wants and B) why go through all the trouble? Is the goal to actually help worker productivity or to reduce the Microsoft market share? Apple fans are primarily interested in the latter, but corporate managers have other priorities. And further: why bother? A Mac Mini costs the same (or actually less)! So instead of making workers use a 10′ mobile device to do real work, companies can get a Mac Mini with the real hardware that corporate workers actually need, and let them connect their keyboard/mouse/monitor from their Windows machines to it. That is how to grow Apple enterprise market share (and take a bite out of Microsoft) while actually meeting the needs of living, breathing people.

    1. So some Apple fanboy downvoted my statement that a Mac Mini is a better option for desktop work than an iPad. My statement that people who want to replace Windows PCs should replace them with Mac Minis. Which is a positive, pro-Apple statement. And that gets downvoted?

      Apple fanboys may be more affluent than their Android and Windows counterparts, but they certainly aren’t any smarter.

      1. Your point is not well taken, perhaps that’s why the down vote, and not because some “fanboy” mindlessly punished you for not toeing the party line.

        “People” will continue to claim the iPad can and does replace a lot of Windows and Mac desktops and laptops because, for some people, it does everything they actually need it to do – surf the web, email, facebook, twitter, etc.

        This isn’t enterprise, this is consumers. Even so, most enterprise users are not plumbing the depths of their CPUs – they’re emailing, surfing the web, word processing, accessing web apps, etc. – to do their “real work”.

        Your points are well-made, and it seems you are a reasonable person, but you may have to re-think your “real work” scenario in the coming years as these devices are changing the landscape of corporate IT, whether they are welcome or not.



        1. “Even so, most enterprise users are not plumbing the depths of their CPUs – they’re emailing, surfing the web, word processing, accessing web apps, etc. – to do their “real work”.”

          Writing corporate emails to your coworkers and suppliers using your enterprise email system is thoroughly dissimilar to sending missives to your family and buddies through Yahoo or Gmail. The other stuff that you are talking about i.e. accessing web apps and word processing can be done better and more efficiently with a keyboard, mouse and large screen than on a touchscreen. And there is also “surfing the web” on one hand (which precious few corporate workers should do a whole lot of on company time) and doing real research for necessary documents and data on the other.

          I do not deny that most enterprise users are not plumbing the depths of their CPUs, but that is a better argument for thin clients like the Google Chromebook. Devices may change the landscape of corporate IT, but they will not change the work being done. Compare the office from the 1950s to the office today. The technology changes are radical but for 70% or even 80% of the workforce, the work is the same. It is just that people are now using computers instead of typewriters, and documents are now electronic instead of on paper.

          The iPad is not built for serious document creation and processing, or to support the real work (creativity and research) that goes into document creation and processing. Windows PCs (love them or hate them) do, and so do Macs obviously. Throwing a bunch of peripherals on it doesn’t change that. It really isn’t the processing power or even the OS. Just 10 years ago, enterprise PCs were running Windows XP on 300 MHz processors and 128 MB of RAM, specs that would not even support a budget Android smartphone! Instead, it is the form factor. You can either sell people iPads and try to propose the idea of using bluetooth peripherals to convert the iPad to a PC form factor, or you can sell people Apple PCs. I say that the latter is preferable.

          Incidentally, please don’t mistake me as a Microsoft guy. I am a Linux guy and am still holding out for the day that enterprises adopt Ubuntu and Fedora PCs! So as for the Apple and Microsoft wars, I have no dog in that hunt.

  11. In the sketch, the parrot is actually dead, but the sales-guy claims it’s “just resting”.
    I love it when people use popular quotes out of context without even knowing the original context, thereby making asshats out of themselves.

  12. All I need to know about the future of tablets I learned years ago watching Babylon 5, Star Wars, Star Trek and the many other depictions of future history. Everyone used tablets, communicators, and large screens for whatever.
    Of course I believe in science fiction. It is the best of human thinking that is intertwined with human needs. Bless Asimov and the other visionaries for equipping us with the security of knowing the future.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene

  13. It’ll be a sad day when my iPad 2 finally croaks. It’s been a great device but the battery will probably determine it’s life. $99 to upgrade a battery in a 4+ yr old device would be a questionable move (I’m assuming it’ll go another year at least). My 32 GB model is stretched probably about as far as it’ll go for performance with iOS 7. I put up with the few memory limited events I get now. But I probably won’t upgrade the OS. It still does pretty much everything I need a tablet to do. The increasing complexity of web pages will eventually decrease it’s usability too. That’s what usually degrades a computing devices’ performance to unusable (for me). One of my saddest computing days was retiring my G4 iMac Flat Panel (the 1/2 soccer ball model) after 8 good years. One of the coolest Macs ever finally succumbed to the grandkids and their web-based games yelling “grandpa, your computer is too slow”. Retiring this iPad 2 will be one of those sad days. Hopefully it’ll go another year. But I’ll be adding to the iPad sales then. I don’t see the demand for iPads going away for a long long time. $600 over 4 years is $12.50 per month. That’s affordable for most people and one of the greatest devices ever conceived.

  14. My iPad 3 works fine for all my needs from March of 2012. I won’t replace it until the newest iPad has 256 GB, 802.11 AC, Touch ID, and LTE Advanced (assuming reasonable monthly cost and coverage in my most frequent locations).

    My original iPad serves my 84-yr-old mother as an endless Suduko puzzle book. She doesn’t use it for anything else and leaves it unplugged for a month or more until I stop by to plug it in after she tells me it is “broken”.

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