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Apple Shipped an Impressive 12.6 Million iPads Last Quarter

Apple released its quarterly report today and the news was about what I expected.

The gadget maker sold 60 million iPhones last quarter. That’s up from 43 million iPhones sold during the same quarter in 2014 and is the second largest number sold ever. The company booked $58 billion in revenue, and increased its cash reserves to $193.5 billion, up from around $150 billion in the year ago quarter.

And last but not least, Apple shipped a mere 12.6 million iPads last quarter, a drop of 23% from the same quarter last year. While some might say that this is a disappointing result, I am actually surprised that it didn’t drop further.

the real iPad killer

the real iPad killer

It’s not just that tablets, including iPads, last a long time (I know people who still use the original iPad) or that there is an excess of really good Android tablets on the market, but also that from everything I’ve heard iPhablet sales are cannibalizing iPad sales.

I have been told by countless iPhone 6 owners that they’ve largely stopped using their iPads ever since they bought the iPhablet. They feel the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ are the ideal size which splits the difference between a 4″ phone and an 8″ tablet. It’s big enough to be useful and still small enough that they can carry it around in one hand.

And now that they have an iPhablet they no longer need an iPad. Many have since sold their iPads, or given them away. All those used iPads have depressed the market, which readily explains the decline in iPad sales.

Far from being surprised or disappointed, I am expecting this trend to continue until Apple releases the iPad Pro. That will boost iPad sales, but at what cost?

This is pie in the sky speculation, but I expect that iPad Pro sales will cannibalize Macbook sales.  I don’t expect people will want to buy a 12″ tablet and a 13″ laptop, so they’ll get one or the other.

Do you see what I am saying?

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jjj April 27, 2015 um 9:01 pm

You mix shipped with sold
60 mil iphones sold, 61.1 mil shipped.
12.6 ipads shipped, 13.7 mil sold.

The more important reason is Apple not making new products that are exciting enough.
There are only so many people willing to pay Apple prices so Apple needs to give it’s users reasons to upgrade.
Over the last few years they got the ipad mini first gen specs and price wrong, fixed that the next year, they failed to release substantial upgrades when they needed to, the design has been too static.
Just look at screen res, ipad gen 3 arrived 3 years ago with 2048×1536 and they kept it steady since. At the same time the iphone 4s was 3.5 inch 960×640 but phones didn’t got stuck.

A big ipad won’t help much if they don’t get it right. Weight,size and pricing are all very important. If they make it with very thin bezels, 500g and 500$, then it’s a big deal. If they have normal bezels, 700g and 700$ , then it’s a fail and won’t help much.
The ipad’s big problem is the lack of vision, the lack of innovation on both the hardware and software side. If you think about it,they did more on the Mac side than on the ipad lately.
They could also go with way high prices for a big ipad,. They could price it like an Air , kill off the Macbook Air and let the higher priced Macbook take over – i know that doesn’t make sense but i’m not sure what they’ll do going forward requires that. The new Macbook and the Watch might hint that they’ll try to push prices up across the board.
A big ipad with 4k screen, 3GB of RAM and 64GB NAND at 900$ might make sense for anyone crazy enough to pay 900$ for the Air. Both are equally stupid purchases.

Nate Hoffelder April 27, 2015 um 9:09 pm

Thanks for pointing out the errors. I’ll fix them.

jjj April 27, 2015 um 9:35 pm

No problem.
I need to add that in my firs post "price it like an Air" means Macbook Air not ipad.
And i’ll add that on the hardware side tabs will be killed by foldable screens maybe soon enough but the software stays alive.

Scott Lewis April 27, 2015 um 10:26 pm

60 million phones, a dozen million tablets and a sixty billion dollar quarter.

Oh and a new product (watch) that’s sold out till June.

Sure hope my company is that stagnant one day.

jjj April 28, 2015 um 2:42 am

If that’s what you have to say, you are aspiring for way too much.

Mackay Bell April 27, 2015 um 9:17 pm

Unless Apple suddenly changes gear and aims for the low end market (which they show no signs of doing), they are really only competing against themselves these days. How much money can they take from their fans?

I think they’re perfectly happy right now to just sell tons of iPhone 6 and 6 plus and Apple Watches. iPads at this point are just gravy.

However, they have also just released the very cool, but very expensive superlite MacBook. I think they would rather sell a lot of those, to amortize it’s development costs and refine it’s manufacturing, than rush out with an iPad update to try to boost sales there. Like the Air before it new MacBook will start out high priced and gradually lower until it becomes the entry level Mac laptop. It’s way ahead of the competition (other than in price) so it has a long future.

On the iPad front, Apple continues to dominate actual tablet usage statistics, which means their base is quite secure in the tablet world. They haven’t really given anyone a major excuse to buy a new iPad. But they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.

Don’t forget that while these devices perform real functions, they also have a toy/gadget aspect and people get bored with the old and like to play with the new. Apple introduced taptic feedback in the Apple Watch and the track pad on the new MacBook. An iPad with taptic feedback would be a real game changer and give people more than enough excuse to buy a new one (if only for fun).

But Apple’s next move is likely to be a very new Apple TV device. I think the HBO announcement was the prelude to that. I suspect we have a while to wait for the iPad Pro.

bob April 27, 2015 um 10:21 pm

I’m in the camp where I like my phone small and will stay with my 5S unless they bring out a smaller model (lots of luck there). It’s a phone and I don’t have the pocket for anything bigger. I’m really hoping for an Apple flip phone. Those were the days.

I also have an iPad mini but will upgrade to the Air 3 or whatever comes out this cycle. I find that I’m reading more pdfs and journals and while I’m sure it’s my old eyes the larger screen will be nice.

R April 28, 2015 um 4:13 am

Me too. I like small phones. I don’t understand how people can use those 5 inch or above phones with one hand. They even prefer phones to be as big as possible. Do they have large pockets? It is not a phone to me if it cannot be put in my pockets.

When they talk on the phone with that big thing, it seems they are putting a frying pan on their face.

Nate Hoffelder April 28, 2015 um 7:33 am

I like flip phones. My smartphone is too complicated. I know that sounds strange coming from a gadget blogger, but when it comes to phones I want something as simple as possible.

Sarah Grendel April 28, 2015 um 10:13 am

I wish that there were more emphasis on the quality of sound in today’s phones. My earliest cell phones did a much better job of transmitting speech than any I’ve had over the past 10 years. Pretty ironic when you think of it—phones for looking at instead of hearing.

fjtorres April 28, 2015 um 10:38 am

ZDnet sees the iPad as following an iPod trajectory more than an iPhone or even Mac-ish path:

Quite possible.

Nate Hoffelder April 28, 2015 um 10:41 am

They could be right. The iPod was killed by the iPhone, and now it looks like the iPad is suffering from the same fate.

rui April 28, 2015 um 4:47 pm

While a lot has been said about iPhone 6 killing ipads and not much reason to go up a model etc etc etc. The real reason is unlike other companies apple makes quality products. An iPad is like a computer in which you don’t upgrade your computer every year, normally its around the 4th year. As long as people' older Gen ipads work they will have little reason to upgrade. I’m sure this will change with ios 9 out in Nov and it could likely mean that the ipad2 won’t get it and many out there who have the 2 will or sure upgrade in a year. It also seems that everyone compares upgrade cycles of any product to that of phones. Most people have 2 year contracts and upgrade also your phone is with u 24/7 after awhile you want a new one badly. The iPad or tablet is not dying its the expectations that you have to upgrade something, something that really you shouldn’t untill it dies or support is done.

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