Ap­ple tin­kers with iPad, in­tro­duces red iPhone

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS -

Ap­ple is cut­ting prices on two iPad mod­els and in­tro­duc­ing red iPhones, but the com­pany held back on up­dat­ing its higher-end iPad Pro tablets.

A much-spec­u­lated 10.5inch iPad Pro didn’t ma­te­ri­al­ize, nor did new ver­sions of ex­ist­ing sizes in the Pro lineup, which is aimed at busi­nesses and cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als. The new de­vices are mostly re­freshes of ex­ist­ing mod­els. Ap­ple un­veiled them through press re­leases Tues­day rather than a staged event, as it typ­i­cally does for big­ger prod­uct re­leases.

The iPad up­dates come as the tablet mar­ket con­tin­ues to de­cline, af­ter a few years of rapid growth. Ac­cord­ing to IDC, tablet ship­ments fell 20 per­cent to 53 mil­lion world­wide in the fi­nal three months of 2016, com­pared with the same pe­riod in 2015.

The iPad Air 2 is re­placed by a new model sim­ply called the iPad. It re­tains a 9.7-inch screen, but gains a lit­tle weight and thick­ness. The dis­play is brighter and the pro­ces­sor faster. Its price starts at $329 for 32 gi­ga­bytes of stor­age, down from $399.

The 7.9-inch iPad Mini 4 now comes with 128 gi­ga­bytes of stor­age start­ing at $399, rather than $499 be­fore. Ap­ple is elim­i­nat­ing the 32-gi­ga­byte model, which used to sell for $399.

Ap­ple is also re­leas­ing a red edi­tion of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus; for each phone sold, Ap­ple is do­nat­ing an un­spec­i­fied amount to HIV and AIDS pro­grams. And Ap­ple is dou­bling the stor­age on the smaller iPhone SE while keep­ing the $399 start­ing price.

The new iPad Mini 4 is avail­able right away, while the stan­dard-size iPad comes out next week, with or­ders to be­gin Fri­day. The new iPhone SE comes out Fri­day, while the red iPhones are ex­pected by the end of the month, with ad­vance or­ders be­gin­ning Fri­day.

Jack­daw Re­search an­a­lyst Jan Daw­son said that “there are two very dis­tinct iPad tiers now — the iPad Pro and the ba­sic iPads.”

In the last three months of 2016, iPhones gen­er­ated 10 times the rev­enue as iPads. Unit sales of iPads fell 19 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year. Yet Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook has ex­pressed op­ti­mism be­cause many peo­ple were buy­ing iPads for the first time, in­di­cat­ing that the mar­ket had yet to reach sat­u­ra­tion, the point at which ev­ery­one who wants a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct al­ready has one.

Daw­son agrees that the num­ber of tablet own­ers is still grow­ing, adding that peo­ple aren’t up­grad­ing of­ten. He said the new $329 price for the 9.7-inch iPad should help spur sales.

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