Built to last: Apple iPad’s useful life is twice as long as an Android tablet’s

“Google’s developer dashboard gives a breakdown of active Android devices by screen size: in the first week of July they accounted for 12.6%, not including phablets,” Benedict Evans blogs. “And since Google also, for the first time, told us the active base, ‘over 1bn’, we can calculate an active tablet base of at least 126m devices, rising to 138m if we take ‘over 1bn’ as 1.1bn.”

“Apple, almost uniquely in the market, reports tablet sales and shipments. In the last 12m (which I presume that “62% in 2014″ bubble refers to) iPad shipment were 69.7m and sales were 73m. If Android tablets indeed had 62% of sales (the chart isn’t clear if it refer to sales or shipments) then that would equate to a market of 192m units and 119m Android tablets sold in the last 12 months,” Evans explains. “This would imply that Android tablets have an average active life of a little under a year. Or, that they have a life of more like two years (say) but half of them are inactive.

“Conversely, it’s pretty clear that the active life of an iPad is if anything too long, from Apple’s point of view – at least two years and probably longer,” Evans writes. “Apple has sold 143m iPads in the last two years and 196m in the last three.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on July 23rd:

iPads simply have a longer lifespan than some people expected. They are not smartphones. There is no driving need to replace them every 24 months or sooner. The length of the iPad replacement cycle is closer to a Mac’s than to an iPhone’s.

Related articles:
No, iPad sales are not slumping – August 1, 2014
No, Apple’s iPad is not dead, it’s just resting – July 31, 2014
Why slowing iPad sales didn’t surprise Apple and shouldn’t surprise you – July 23, 2014
Apple’s iPad problem: They don’t wear out – May 20, 2014
Apple iPad sales are in deep trouble in 2014 or something – May 15, 2014
Apple’s iPad business isn’t collapsing, but the rest of the tablet industry sure is – May 5, 2014
Some desperately needed context surrounding Apple’s iPad sales decline – May 1, 2014
IDC: Apple iPad maintains lead in worldwide tablet market share – May 1, 2014
Apple iPad: Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated – April 24, 2014
Why fret about iPad numbers when there’s no such thing as the Android tablet? – April 23, 2014


  1. > Android tablets have an average active life of a little under a year. Or, that they have a life of more like two years (say) but half of them are inactive.

    It’s not they broke, or became “not useful,” in less than one year. They were not very useful to begin with… 🙂

    Those Android tablet customers probably became disillusioned with tablets and stopped using them, or they liked the experience enough to later (after about a year) buy a “real” iPad.

    1. I know people who buy anything but Apple when it comes to tablets–There was the RIM Playbook, then Palm, then Windows, the various Android thingies, Kindle Fire…they keep replacing their on-Apple product with another non-Apple product. Apple-haters keep investing emotional energy and denial in the latest Great White Hope tablet, and keep crowing that this time, this time…it’s an iPad killer. Hilarious.

      1. Yes, I’ve seen this phenomenon as well. There are people who will not buy anything Apple. Their minds are as closed as they accuse Apple of and only “open” to those other “open” systems even though they are not “open”. You know because its black or white.

      1. Be serious, JP. China produces a wide range of products, from high quality to total junk. But Apple insists on quality and oversees every step of the production process. So, yes, Apple does design and “make” quality products.

  2. Apple hardware is absolutely bullet-proof. Best there ever was.

    But when the software update arrives that bricks the device, because it is no longer supported, that sturdy piece of hardware is s*it out of luck. Bookend …

    We need a federal tech law to stop the yearly upgrade madness.

    Apple has enough money for chrissake!

    1. what are talking about?

      I’ve had all the updates for my iOS devices, never had any ‘brick’ and some of the devices are relatively old.
      Never met anyone with a ‘bricked’ Apple device either.

      Extremely old devices aren’t supported because the old hardware can’t keep up with the new software (but the devices still run reasonably ok with old OS and new OS won’t update on them anyways so preventing ‘brick’ up).

        1. I still have a plastic white Macbook near 8 years old that still runs…

          For iOS devices, iOS 7 can run on iPhone 4, to 5 S.
          The 4 come out in 2010! That’s 4 years ago! How long do you think apple should keep old hardware upgradeable? (limiting OS to very old hardware puts barriers in development)
          besides that iOS 6 is still a great OS.
          so its strange you have a beef.

          BTW many current (like a few months old) android phones don’t even get the next OS updates (OEMs don’t give updates for their phones at all) . That never happens with Apple. Also tens of million of Android phones are sold with android versions 2 years or more old. The percentage of Android phones with the newest oS is tiny.

          1. While technically correct iOS7 runs on older phones it does not run WELL.

            The performance is hobbled or crippled, if you will.

            But as you pointed out, yes Apple is better than Android in that regard.

    2. “bricks”? “bookend”? “yearly upgrade madness”?

      You don’t know what you’re blethering about. My iPad 1 still runs fine, and there’s still apps I can download for it, although admittedly not as many as there used to be.

  3. we went thru this same thing with personal computers back in the 90s. windows computers were replaced much more often than macintoshes; this was one of the reasons that led to higher marketshare for windows computers – people simply replaced them more often because of the quality. back then macintoshes had a higher initial cost but the cost per year of useful operation was lower.

  4. As the iPad becomes more refined the longer the life …… Almost everyone replaced their iPad 1 but the iPad 2 has legs and of course iPad 3 and the iPad Air …..

    I’m using an iPad Air and have purchased each generation for wife and myself ….. We then pass each one down to the grandkids – We have five grandkids and have passed down six iPads but the parents hogged the iPad 3 so we will replace again when new comes and pass down our Airs …….

    After the next new iPad comes out, we will probably hold off at least one generation if not two generations before buying again …..

    At some point we will replace every 3-4 years but with grandkids makes it easy to buy!

  5. So basically the gist is that iPad marketshare will continue to drop due to not having to be replaced as often. That’s good for owners and bad for those worrying about Apple tablet marketshare.

    I don’t get why these bloggers persist in using the Google developer dashboard data (Google specific) as an indicator of total Android device sales (devices including Android versions Google has no control over and have no access to Google Play which is the basis for the dashboard data).

  6. Q: Did Apple build it?
    A: Yes.

    Then of course it has a longer lifetime of usability, just like the Mac. As usual: You get what you pay for when you buy Apple gear. The end result is that Apple gear, as usual, actually costs LESS than the competition.

    (Look Up ‘Return on Investment’ and ‘Total Cost of Ownership’).

  7. Yes, Apple products are built to last. We still have the first iPad, a 2010 MacBook Pro. what they used to call the iPod Video and a iPod Nano with the camera. Even though there is no updates to the software, except the Mac, they are all working like brand new.

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