The iPad is proof that the tablet is far from dead

iPad sales surge year on year

As smartphones continue to grow, the tablet segment has been on a decline for the past few years. The iPad which was first introduced in 2010 is also having a slowdown in sales since 2014. With consumers getting comfortable with larger screen smartphones, it seems that the slate form factor is slowly becoming redundant.

Surprisingly, Apple has just posted its first quarterly growth for the iPad year-over-year since late 2013 with a total of 11.42 million iPads sold in the last fiscal quarter.

According to Apple’s latest Q3 2017 report, they have sold about 1.5 million more iPads compared to the same period last year. As illustrated by Recode below, this is quite a significant growth as this period is usually the second lowest quarter of the year.

Despite selling 15% more tablets year-over-year, revenue only increased by 2%. This tells us Apple is moving more of its cheaper iPad, particularly the new 9.7″ iPad that was launched in March this year. The latest second generation iPad Pro that comes in 10.5″ and 12.9″ sizes were only introduced in June.

With a starting price at RM1,549, the 2017 iPad is currently their most affordable tablet in production. It offers a decent 9.7″ display and it runs on Apple’s A9 chip which is the same chip that’s powering the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s.

Compared to Android, the iPad still has a better experience as it gets an optimised OS with a wider choice of apps that are really designed for a tablet experience. With the upcoming iOS 11, the iPad is getting even more productive with several desktop-like features.

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While we don’t expect the iPad to push sales volumes like it used to, the product is still here to stay. It will continue to stay relevant just like the PC as it is still a great media consumption device.

At the moment, the iPad family is more streamlined with two high-end iPad Pro options, a budget iPad 9.7″ and an iPad mini 4 that comes only with 128GB. The iPad mini could be the next product to be discontinued as Apple has yet to refresh this product since 2015.

Overall, Apple as a company is doing rather well. They have posted a total revenue of US$45.4 billion which is a 7% increase year-over-year. In the same quarter, they have sold 41 million iPhones which is slightly more compared to the same quarter last year (40.4 million units). As expected, these figures are lower compared to last quarter (50.7 million) as most potential buyers would be waiting for the next iPhone that’s usually revealed in September.

Alexander Wong