iPad sales are on the rise

Cheaper mod­els’ pop­u­lar­ity likely re­spon­si­ble for the first rise in three years

Mac|Life - - START - BY Michelle Fitzsim­mons and Cameron Faulkner

All eyes may be on the new iPhone right now, but iPad just had its best quarter sales-wise in a long time.

It’s not just a tiny uptick, ei­ther: Ap­ple sold 11.4 mil­lion iPads in Q3, the three months end­ing July 1. Un­sur­pris­ingly, CEO Tim Cook called these “very pos­i­tive results” on the com­pany’s earn­ings call.

This fig­ure pales in com­par­i­son to the 41 mil­lion iPhones also sold in the quarter, but it’s a sur­pris­ing 15 per­cent in­crease from the same quarter last year (when 9.9 mil­lion iPads were sold) and a 28 per­cent in­crease from the quarter be­fore (8.9 mil­lion iPads). The iPad also achieved its high­est mar­ket share in over four years, Cook said.

To put an even finer point on it, CNBC noted this is the first time iPad has en­joyed year-on-year sales growth since 2014. In­deed, the tablet mar­ket as a whole con­tin­ues to strug­gle, with a 3.4 per­cent de­cline in sales com­pared to this point last year.

What’s in­ter­est­ing about Ap­ple’s latest iPad results is that while unit sales grew by dou­ble-dig­its, rev­enue from iPad only rose by 2 per­cent year-over-year. Although Ap­ple didn’t break out fig­ures for spe­cific mod­els, this could mean cus­tomers bought more of the cheaper iPads rather than scram­bling to scoop up the newer, pricier Pro mod­els.

Tablets have cre­ated some­what of a prob­lem unto them­selves. Smart­phones like the iPhone usu­ally make ma­jor ad­vance­ments in both de­sign and technology year af­ter year due to the wide (and evolv­ing)

range of use-cases they cover, and so new mod­els tend to at­tract pre­vi­ous buyers.

Tablets, mean­while, evolve more slowly by com­par­i­son, and are seen more as an entertainment and pro­duc­tiv­ity de­vice. This dis­tinc­tion in buy­ing habits fur­ther widened with the rise in pop­u­lar­ity of 2-in-1 com­put­ers, many of which de­tach into tablets of their own.

May of this year, how­ever, saw the re­lease of the new 9.7-inch iPad. Com­plete with most of the stand­out ca­pa­bil­i­ties seen in the iPhone 7, the new iPad sur­prised many with its low price point of $329 – around $130 cheaper than its pre­de­ces­sor.

The re­cent up­swing in tablet sales is thus likely due to some­thing that had to hap­pen even­tu­ally: prices get­ting lower. 2-in-1s forced the hands of tablet mak­ers to do some­thing they didn’t want to do, but now, fi­nally, Ap­ple and oth­ers are be­gin­ning to re­spond with more af­ford­able hard­ware.

Don’t dis­count the iPad just yet…

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