I’m glad that I purchased an iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch tablet is ideal for surfing the Web, watching videos, and, as my daughter would point out, playing games. The iPad Pro also works well as a document writer and for managing tasks. I also like the Apple Pencil, although I don’t consider myself an artist. After using my iPad Pro daily for nearly three months, however, I’ve come to a conclusion: this thing is never going to replace my Mac.
It’s no secret that Apple has a tablet problem. Sales of the iPad have been down year-over-year for 10 out of the last 11 quarters. Over the same period, iPhone sales have soared.
Will the likely springtime release of the “iPad Air 3” improve tablet sales? Probably not, at least in the long-term.
The iPad Air 3 rumors suggest that Apple’s next flagship tablet is going to be a mini version of the iPad Pro, which launched in November. Additions should include a Smart Connector, Apple Pencil support, a better processor, etc.
As I said, I like my Apple Pencil. And yes, the A9X processor on my iPad Pro makes it blazing fast. Neither of these features, however, are enough for most previous iPad Air buyers to make a switch. Nonetheless, the iPad Air 3 can still find enormous success.
According to mobile marketer Fiksu, 39.1 percent of current 9.7-inch iPad owners are using an iPad 4 or earlier. The iPad Air accounts for 17.5 percent of usage, with 11.2 percent for the iPad Air 2, and 1 percent for the iPad Pro.
The rest, 31.3 percent, are using an iPad mini model. Of these, most are iPad mini and iPad mini 2 owners (27.7 percent).
These numbers have been crunched often in recent months. Most have concluded that one of the reasons for a slowdown in iPad sales is that existing users see no need to upgrade. It could also be, as Macworld recently pointed out, that iPad is a victim of its early success. Looked another way: people just aren’t that much in love with tablets anymore.
Determining why first-time iPad purchases have slowed is difficult.
However, we know from Fiksu’s data that a whopping 66.8 percent of current iPad owners are using an older device. That’s where Apple should be focusing its attention.
Time for significant changes
To kickstart iPad sales, Apple should streamline the line while at the same time, lowering prices. It should also rethink the iPad Pro.
Most experts suggest the 5.7-inch iPhone 6/6s Plus has cannibalized iPad mini sales. If this is correct, Apple should kill its 7.9-inch tablets. The company should also end production on the first-generation iPad Air. Once the iPad Air 3 arrives, these moves would make the iPad Air 2 the least expensive Apple tablet on the market.
Cupertino should slash iPad prices across the board or, at least, make 32GB models the new starting point, instead of 16GB. Apple has already done this for the iPad Pro, which is only available in 32GB and 128GB models.
Lastly, Apple needs to present a better long-term solution for the iPad Pro. As I already noted, I’m happy with my iPad Pro purchase. However, I don’t expect to buy an “iPad Pro 2” unless Apple makes some significant changes. At $949 for the 128GB model, the iPad Pro is too expensive, especially when you compare it to the MacBook line, which starts at $899.
I think the time has come for Apple to release an iPad that runs some form of OS X. A device such as this would truly be worthy of the iPad Pro name. It would also help differentiate the 12.9-inch tablet from the 9.7-inch model and justify its premium pricing.
By making these changes, Apple could make the iPad line significant again. What do you think?