Three years of solitude and suffering-iPad 10th anniversary, its transition and future (2)

The iPad that Apple has put out is the tenth anniversary of January 27, 2020. In this series, I want to think about the history, transition, and future of the iPad for 10 years. The previous"Tablet has become more than paperThe second time after "is about the suffering of the iPad.

At present, the iPad consists of five line-ups: low-cost iPad (7th generation), iPad mini (5th generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad Pro 11 inch and 12.9 inch. It supports Pencil and Smart Keyboard (only iPad mini does not support Smart Keyboard).

  • The latest iPad lineup. From right, iPad mini (5th generation), iPad (7th generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), and 2 types of iPad Pro

Before this lineup, the iPad had been growing for less than three years, with quarterly sales figures lower than last year. This time, I would like to look back on the poor performance of the iPad and its breakthrough.

Background of becoming the best iPad

Looking at the current tablet market, the results show that only iPads remain,Apple has dominated the market. There are several reasons for that.

The first is the upsizing of smartphones. Until the introduction of the iPad mini, the iPad had been hard at 9.7 inches. Currently, it has been slightly expanded to the 10-inch class, but based on this size.

Rival Android tablets began offering a variety of screen sizes early on. When the screen of the smartphone was about 4 inches, a compact tablet with a size of 6 to 8 inches was introduced, creating a position that was "portable and slightly larger."

Apple introduced the iPad mini in 2012, but its size is 7.9 inches. It is nearly 8 inches in size and light enough to be held in one hand, but has a distinctly different size than a smartphone.

  • The iPad mini is in an exquisite size that women can hold with one hand

After that, smartphones, including the iPhone, began to grow in size. Apple continues to be the most conservative in magnifying the screen, but smartphone screens have grown steadily. It increased to 5.5 inches on the iPhone 6 Plus released in 2014, 5.8 inches on the iPhone X in 2017, and 6.5 inches on the iPhone XS Max in 2018. In 2020, there are plans to release an iPhone with a larger screen size.

The problem here is that the screen size of small tablets and smartphones overlap. In particular, Android smartphones, which have an advantage over the iPhone in terms of screen size, took away the reasons for the existence of Android tablets and withdrew. The manufacturer then created the Chromebook, which later became a rival to the iPad.

Apps are another reason the iPad has survived. This is a factor that shows the iPad's superiority not only with Android smartphones but also with Windows tablets.

Apple has sold earlier iPads that they can expand the iPhone app's screen and use it on iPads. However, every time it announced the number of iPad-dedicated apps, it announced that 475,000 were available as of October 2013.

  • The iPad has very many dedicated apps. Apple itself is pushing it forward

At the same time, bundles Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, business apps for genuine Apple word processing, spreadsheets, and slide creation. Since then, while renewing the Mac and iPad versions at about the same pace, we have built an environment that is not aware of the device to edit, involving data synchronization with iCloud.

This method is being adopted by other productivity and utility apps, and the app offering on both Macs and iPads will accelerate. As a result, the iPad was used as a mobile machine to work, and the iPad was created as the main machine.

For both Android and Windows, apps offered on the same platform can be used on a large screen that supports touch operations, so the number of apps should be no worse than the iPad. However, in the face of the Android tablet I've experienced and the Surface Go I'm still using, "being able to use" and "being able to work comfortably" are different. The Android tablet has insufficient support for the screen size and touch operation of both the OS and the application, and has not reached the level where it can be used comfortably.

Apple's strength in encouraging native apps by laying out interface guidelines for the iPad has been demonstrated here.

Three years of poor iPad

I wrote "Strong" in the previous heading, but this is not an exact wording. Once upon a time, the iPad itself suffered a slump and was never strong.

Apple, which introduced the iPad Air 2 in 2014, has been declining for a long time since the sale of Apple has gone round. Even with the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, iPad mini 4 and the 2016 iPad Pro 9.7-inch introduced in 2015, sales could not increase.

At the same timing, as mentioned above, the withdrawal of Android devices continued, and the sluggish sales of iPad, which had the largest sales ratio of tablets, resulted in the contraction of the entire tablet market.

The reason for the sluggish sales was that previously released iPads could be used longer than expected, and that they couldn't find enough products in the price range they needed.

In my experience, the iPad feels like a device that can be used for more than four years. In the first place, of course, the A series chip is powerful, but the major factor is that the "what to do" with the iPad has not changed so much in four years.

For example, suppose you purchased an iPad Pro 9.7-inch model in 2016. The apps used on the iPad are Safari, Messages, FaceTime, Photos, iMovie, Keynote, and Netflix.

As long as you continue to use these apps, you can continue to use their original performance even in 2020. Like a smartphone, the performance of a camera does not improve dramatically every year, and the battery does not deteriorate in two or three years because of the low frequency of charging. Unlike PCs, which become heavier with newer OSs, OS updates speed up app launches.

  • IPad Pro 9.7-inch model that appeared four years ago. There is no dissatisfaction with the performance of the iPad itself, it also supports Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, so it can still be used today

This makes it difficult to find a reason to buy a new one. Of course, it's a great deal for consumers, but as a manufacturer, they have to pioneer new users to sell new products, and they can't create a two-year replacement cycle like a smartphone.

When trying to cultivate new users, the entry line iPad had not been available for a long time, which was a problem in the lineup. When the iPad Pro series first appeared in 2016, the entry-level regular model was the iPad Air 2, which cost over $ 400.

The price of the iPad mini was high for companies and educational institutions to introduce in large quantities. By the end of 2016, orders from Japanese companies and educational institutions that were still trying to introduce the iPad had gathered, and the iPad Air 2 was out of stock.

In order for Apple to recover from the sluggish iPad sales, two measures were needed: a new role played by the iPad and a low-priced model that meets market needs. (Continue)

Author Profile
Taro Matsumura

Taro Matsumura

Journalist and author born in 1980. Graduated from Keio University, Graduate School of Media and Governance. Senior member (visit) of Keio University SFC Research Institute, Director of Research, Castalia Co., Ltd., Lecturer at Business Breakthrough University. Recent books include "LinkedIn Start Book" (published by Nikkei BP), "New Era of Smartphones" (published by NTT Publishing), "Introduction to Social Learning" (published by Nikkei BP), and others. Twitter account is "@taromatsumura".

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