Apple iPad’s bright future

“With another quarter of falling iPad sales, there’s a lot of talk these days about what’s up with the iPad,” Jason Snell writes for Macworld. “While Apple still sells more than twice as many iPads per quarter as it does Macs, the Mac business generates more revenue and is more stable than the iPad, which has shown year-over-year sales declines for 14 of Apple’s latest 15 financial quarters.”

Snell writes, “Despite a larger installed base than the Mac, customer-satisfaction scores that are “through the roof” (to use Tim Cook’s phrase), dominance in the high-end tablet market, and increasing sales to first-time iPad buyers, the iPad’s lack of sales momentum leads to a lot of skepticism about its future.”

“I believe that the iPad, or something very much like it, will be a huge part of the future of how people use computing devices,” Snell writes. “Here are a few of the reasons why…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last August:

Yes, barring untimely death, we’ve considered that the last Macs we’ll ever buy could come within 5-10 years. We expect to definitely buy one more round of Mac desktops and notebooks and at least one more round after that. That’ll be 5-10 years right there. iPad Pro and iOS can already replace our road Macs, but as longtime Mac users, we have ingrained habits and therefore remain much faster on our MacBooks than on iPad. Younger users (under 12 or so) have no such issues and can usually blow us away iPad to iPad, but we are getting better and faster all the time. Old habits will die hard, but they will die eventually.

That said, of course, beyond 2026, we’d love to see the Macintosh and macOS live on in some capacity (professional machines; “trucks,” if you will) for many more years!

And, as we wrote back in November 2015:

iPad Pro can replace the vast majority of people’s MacBooks because people never had an alternative to a MacBook to accomplish what what they use a personal computer for: Web browsing, email, light word processing, music-video-photo storage and playback, and maybe some messaging (but they do most or all of that on their iPhones or iPhone wannabes).

Note: Obviously, we are not talking about our readership which skews heavily toward techies who use their Macs for far more than the vast majority of current personal computer users.

For the vast majority of people even a crappy low-end Windows laptop is vast overkill for what they do. Therefore, the headroom for iPad remains virtually limitless, especially as Apple’s A-Series chips, iOS and iPad apps become ever more powerful.

This “iPad pause” will not last forever.


  1. They must be looking through a different crystal ball than the rest of us, because if you own an iPad Air 2 on up there is no reason to upgrade for the foreseeable future.

    That’s because the current iPad (a few pointless bells and whistles aside) does basically the same thing the original iPad did… can you say “NO INNOVATION” ?

    Tim Cook is fooling no one. I will never upgrade my iPad Air 2 or my IPP 12.9 (which is just a giant, still crippled iPad). I love the power and flexibility of my used Surface 2 and my iPhone 6S is my last iPhone. I’m waiting on the Surface Phone, all because Tim Cook is destroying what was once a great company!

  2. iPad’s great future?! Some alternate reality universe? This is not my opinion but I’m absolutely certain the iPad is already considered a product almost no one wants because no one sees a need for it. All of Wall Street and tech-critics say the Surface Book Pro is the equivalent of an iPad and a MacBook Pro rolled into one product so why would anyone pay for two separate Apple products.

    Also there are many people who believe Apple is wrong to build products that last too long. I want long-lasting products but pundits don’t. I see nothing wrong with using the same device for many years but apparently many people see that as a bad thing. They must have some freaking new device every year. That seems like a burden on the ecology but I guess all that matters are high sales and more features.

    I think Apple is doing a good job with current iPads but I’m in the minority, it seems. As long as Wall Street thinks Apple’s iPad strategy is poor then that’s going to set the criteria for the iPad being a failure. Apparently any Apple device which doesn’t achieve sky-high sales every quarter is called a failure, no matter what the reason. Some people believe consumers have unlimited amounts of money to throw away but I can’t afford to do that. If a have a well-working product, even if a much better one comes along, I’ll have to stick with the old product. It’s comes down to a matter of economics for me and not innovation.

    I’m sure there are a lot of holes in Apple’s business but it’s still doing rather well without my input. Mostly, I honestly can’t tell what’s going on at Apple but as long as I see some meager gains, I’m satisfied. Apple is running a better business than most companies and certainly much better than I could ever do on my own.

  3. I agree with Jason. The 12.9 iPad Pro and keyboard combo are probably very close to that computer of 2026. Just some meetings to allow access to the file system by devices like Bluetooth mice and flash drives are holding it back. Two more generations of a series processor improvement wouldn’t hurt. It’s all very doable. The a series processor has lots of room to improve as it isn’t bound by decades of x86 support.

  4. iPad Pro could be a closer to a MacBook (so not to completely cannibalise MacBook sales) if Apple would just open up iOS a little more.
    Allow some folder organisation (not necessarily access to to the iOS file system) , but allow iOS to have a folder organisation system to beter orgsnise data outside of the actuall apps.

    1. Not a great strategy IMHO.

      By design, the iPad relies almost entirely on the iCloud (or some internet file service) to be useful. While adding pen input capability is nice for artists, iOS is completely inadequate for file sharing and the thin fanless designs are useless for sustained processing tasks. Apple has made zero effort in making it compatible with PCs, local networks, wired connections, flash drives, and other real world needs. As such, it will never replace the Mac, which is designed to be a complete machine that can interface with anything.

      Making iOS closer to the Mac is like attempting to mix oil and water. You may be able to whip up an emulsion, but you then will no longer have either oil or water — you would have an Apple branded Surface.

      If Apple wants to not cannibalise MacBook sales, then it should keep the MacBook competitively priced, add more battery and cooling capability, and add more than one USB/ThunderBolt port.

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