Tim Bajarin: Tablet shipments are dropping because Apple is the only company with a really innovative option

“With Apple’s latest quarterly results and research reports showing a slowdown in tablet growth, many are wondering about the future of these devices,” Tim Bajarin writes for PC Magazine.

“I believe there is still growth potential for the tablet. The problem is that Apple is the only one driving tablet innovation in a meaningful way. Apple makes nearly 80 percent of the profits in the segment,” Bajarin writes. “With such little revenue to fight for, more OEMs have focused their efforts on the smartphone segment, not the tablet segment. And even if they are doing tablets, they are doing low-end models with very little differentiation. Also, Apple has the curse of quality behind its iPads since many people keep them well beyond what had been the normal two-year refresh cycle. ”

“But I believe we are at the beginning of something new in the tablet market that will hopefully drive growth for these highly mobile computers. I believe we are about to see the great tablet segmentation,” Bajarin writes. “Segmentation opportunities like the Nabi kids tablet, or the Nvidia Shield tablet present the more lucrative opportunities for vendors since competing with Apple appears to be a waste of time.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

19 Comments

    1. I agree with you but Wall Street sees this as a bad thing. They think churning out quickly disposable products is a good thing with no regards for ecology or platform stability. Why would they think consumers want to constantly buy new products when the old ones still work satisfactorily? I really don’t get it. If I get a good product I want to hold onto it until it stops working or no longer suits me. In most cases, I’m not looking for a newer and better product every year and happy my product keeps working. It makes me feel as though I’m getting my money’s worth.

    2. I think Apple knows what they are doing. The actual ice expectancy of the device is way beyond what I have listed below since most either sell their old device or pass it on to a family member.

      iPhone – 1 year for high-end users, 2 years for most, 3 years for low end of the spectrum

      iPad – 2 years for high-end, 3 years for most, 4-years for low end

      MacBook varieties – 2-3 years for leading, 4-5 years for most, 6-10 years for low end

      Mac Desktop – similar to laptop

  1. I don’t see why Apple has to live up to everyone’s expectations. Those outsiders aren’t running the company and probably don’t run any company. They think all a company has to do is snap their fingers to make consumers buy products. That Apple can sell as many tablets as they do is simply amazing but all these critics do is focus on the negative that Apple can’t sell an unlimited number of tablets to match some theoretical growth predictions based on some algorithms or something. Sometimes companies sell more products and sometimes they sell less products. That’s just business as usual. It has nothing to do with the death of a company’s business. These people make far too big a deal over quarterly sales results. The minimum concern should be year to year sales and even that doesn’t indicate the death of a company’s business.

    Market share seems to be the only metric Wall Street is concerned with and that’s really sad. I think that’s a metric that only companies that sell the least expensive products will always win on a global basis.

  2. 2 year refresh may be desired by Apple, but my Apple 1 has been passed down the line in the family and is still working just like new and for email and web work, it is still perfect.

    1. Agreed. I bet 90%+ of the original iPads are still in use – mine is; and still has excellent battery life although used constantly throughout the day instead of sitting at a desk computer.

      The innovation since the first one has been adding a camera, front and back, adding a higher res screen and higher specs in line with the rest of the market. All of which do little to change the dynamic of use. Lots of older folks in the street which dont own smartphones have bought iPads for Skype/Facetime with their kids and grandchildren. The younger generation also have iPhones so the camera functions don’t matter that much anyway.

      Maybe connectivity will give the iPad another boost but the home automation, lighting etc plus links with Apple TV, gaming and possibly health monitoring are the future drivers

  3. The future of these devices lies in their redesign, and that of iOS, to suit the requirements of enterprise: part of the strategy motivating the Apple-IBM partnership.

    1. But there’s also some merit to the segmentation idea. My 3 year old daughter has taken over our iPad. She runs all of her own videos through the Apple TV using our iPad and Amazon Prime. She’s mastered the touch interface completely. She can’t read yet, but she recognizes words like “play” and ” back”.

      1. My daughter is older and is happier with the size and portability of the iPod Touch ( because it’s more like a smartphone ) so I think form factor will change as people get older
        – a bit like cars: small – sports – hot hatch – family saloon – SUV – and then back to sporty before ending up at eco-small.

            1. 6500 pounds and GM 4×4 will always get you where you are going. I’ve never had to put chains on that vehicle and I’ve driven it with an inch of ice on top of a foot of snow. We ran my son to the emergency room in it when the ambulances weren’t running due to such conditions.

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