The diminished iPad: Apple’s fault

“Something very strange is happening this week: there is an Apple event, and very few people – including myself – are particularly jazzed up about it,” Ben Thompson writes for stratechery. “Oh sure, I’ll watch it, and I hope I’m surprised, but there is very little in the rumor mill – a retina iMac, OS X Yosemite, and the iPad Air 2 – that is particularly noteworthy. If anything, it is that lack of noteworthiness that is the most noteworthy thing of all.”

“The question, though, is if the decline in the iPad’s fortunes is simply the natural order of things, Apple cannibalizing itself before others have the chance, or a missed opportunity,” Thompson writes. “I think that it’s all three.”

“I personally will always own an iPad simply because Paper on the iPad does something for me that no other Apple device does; this simply isn’t the case for nearly enough people,” Thompson writes. “This is Apple’s fault.”

Before commenting below, please read the full article – very highly recommendedhere.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “S. Mulji” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus: Changing the way I work in a big way – October 14, 2014
Open thread: Does iPhone 6 Plus kill iPad mini, iPad Air sales? – October 6, 2014


  1. Well many here may be underwhelmed, but I’m just waiting for the moment I can place an order for an iPad Air 2 (to replace an iPad 4th Gen, incidentally – sold yesterday for a great price 6 hours after listing it for sale), a BTO top end iMac (to replace a four year old 27″ iMac, and if upgraded ATV hardware is a goer I’ll have one of those too. All my older stuff still works, but things I use my appliances for would benefit hugely from the upgraded specs these new ones come with. On top of a recent iPhone 6 purchase a few dollars large will be spent. The gossiping tech writers aren’t getting woodies about the new gear, so what? Huge steps are being made in both hardware and software an I for one am grateful for all the opportunities these improvements represent. And I know i’m not the only one.

  2. The Apple Inc. strategy is clear:

    1. iPhone 6 Plus is a very mini iPad, which now has the additional benefit of generating huge sales in the Telco Replaceable market (where Telco’s fight each other to get you onto their network every 2 years). So, could be seen as cannibalising the iPad market, but actually it has moved the very low end of the iPad market into the more profitable iPhone stream!

    2. iPad, like the Mac, is not in the highly profitable Telco Replacement market, but nevertheless is a key mobility device; of particular use for young and elderly & a myriad of niche business environment (medical, music etc…). Quite interesting that many bloggers see that Apple Inc. have ‘missed’ something with the iPad market; I guess any other tech company on planet earth would like to have a problem child that shifts over 250 million devices over a 3-4 year period!

    3. The key that I believe Apple Inc. will unlock very soon is a MacPad Pro, where they fuse the true benefits of the iPad with the work horsepower of the Macbook. The indications that this is imminent are in the introduction of the ‘Continuity’ functionality across iOS 8 and OSX Yosemite, plus the announcement of the exclusive IBM/Apple Inc. alliance to bring Apple devices & ecosystem to the Enterprise

    4. With TV, Pay, Watch, Touch ID on all mobile devices (iPhones and iPads) and the myriad of other services (Healthkit, HomeKit, Metal layer for gaming), the competition must be really concerned at how Apple Inc. are changing and adapting their device & service strategy to be all encompassing, rich, very powerful and untouchable!

  3. Good article, but I’m not sure I agree. I think there’s probably going to be a lull in sales not because the market is shrinking but because the iPad is more like a Mac than an iPhone – it will have a longer lifespan and thus a longer refresh cycle. My retired mother-in-law has an iPad 2 and loves it – and for web browsing, email, video and simple games (the only type she plays) it’s as fine now as it was 2 years ago. And that’s the ‘problem’ – the iPad is so good and so reliable it just keeps on going and people will only buy new ones when they wear out, not because they need the newest of the new. That isn’t to say the market can’t grow – I’ve used Android tabs and Windows tabs and yes, they’re cheap. But they’re also almost without exception absolutely awful, and even the good ones see nothing like the support the iPad gets. I can do more with my ‘limited’ iPad Air and its lightweight tablet OS than I ever could with the Thinkpad 8 Windows tablet with full MS Office I had simply because getting stuff done on it was such a faff as the OS wasn’t suited to tablets, it kept demanding updates, its apps weren’t built for touch from the ground up and so on. Even the fact it had such a lousy range of accessories, and more that I *needed* those accessories. When your tablet requires a keyboard and mouse to be just usable, you don’t have a tablet – you have a disassembled laptop.

    That’s the market the iPad will always have, and always be king of – doing things that need more screen than even the biggest phone but that don’t need a full-on desktop or laptop. And for an increasing number of people this sort of use is becoming their entire computing experience.

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