“The iPad has an installed base of over 300 million. This is a far larger audience than that of the Mac (which has somewhere between 100 million and 150 million),” Horace Dediu writes for Asymco. “And whereas the iPad acquired this audience in about 7 years, the Mac took 33 years.”
“Taking into account that the iPad has a large, stable, engaged and loyal user base that continues to expand and find new uses, the optically bad sales data needs an explanation,” Dediu writes. “The simplest explanation is probably the best: iPads remain in use far longer than phones, and perhaps even longer than some computers.”
“Anecdotally we can see evidence for this. Few iPads are replaced every two years the way phones are. They are not tied to service contracts or subsidized,” Dediu writes. “Perhaps the iPad will not return to rapid growth, or perhaps it will. But the more likely possibility is that the iPad will level out maintaining steady levels and, perhaps, grow slightly. This flat rather than up/down trajectory is unusual in devices but it isn’t when you look at the Mac. And isn’t the goal of the iPad to become a computer? If so then perhaps Mission Accomplished.”
Read more, and see the usual excellent graph, in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: As as we wrote back in February 2016:
Here’s the thing: The iPad saturated its addressable market so quickly and the iPads are so well made and last so damn long that unless Apple provides a really compelling reason to upgrade, most people are just not upgrading yet. We handed off our original iPads to relatives a couple years ago and they’re still being used! Yes, they lack sensors to support many modern iPad games, but they are still in use. We also have immediate family members still using perfectly working iPad 2, iPad 3, and older iPad Air and mini models. The obsolescence cycle for iPad rivals that of the Mac. It’s very long.
The iPad is not a niche product. It had unprecedented uptake and the devices have such long, useful lives that the replacement cycle still hasn’t really kicked in. When it does — and when the macroeconomy improves to the point where users can consider adding the joys of iPad to their computing lives — then we’ll see iPad unit sales growth again. In the meantime, Apple should redouble their efforts at improving iPad – adding Apple Pencil, Smart Connector, and multi-user support (to mention just three things) — that will make the iPad even more appealing to buyers.
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Apple unveils new 9.7-inch iPad starting at new low price of just $329 – March 21, 2017
Apple to reveal all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro in early April event at new Steve Jobs Theater, sources say – March 14, 2017
Apple’s all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro to feature 2,024-by-1,668 display; same physical size as current 9.7 inch iPad Pro – February 27, 2017
Why a 10.5-inch iPad makes mathematical sense – January 12, 2017
Ming-Chi Kuo: Three new Apple iPads on the way, including new model with 10-10.5-inch display – January 9, 2017