10 Reasons Why Apple iPad Sales Continue to Sag

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10 Reasons Why Apple iPad Sales Continue to Sag

Apple iPad sales have been in retreat for several quarters with no indication of a turnaround anytime soon. There are many reasons why iPad sales are stuck in reverse.

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Model Updates Are Few and Far Between

Part of the reason Apple’s iPad numbers have tumbled in recent memory is a general lack of updates. Apple’s iPad Air 2, for example, hasn’t been updated for more than two years. The Pad Mini 4, the company’s smallest tablet, was released in September 2015. Even the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has been available more than a year without an upgrade.

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Upgrades Are Unimpressive

Over the last few years, Apple’s iPad feature updates have been disappointing. For instance, last year Apple announced the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, a device that complements the larger 12.9-inch version. It received a tepid reaction from customers and critics who had hoped for something more substantial. Buyers want major upgrades, but they haven't gotten them.

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The Entire Tablet Market Is in Retreat

Apple also is subject to macro problems. The tablet industry, for instance, is seeing a broader downturn in shipments as customers increasingly turn to other device types for mobile computing. That has negatively affected Apple. And, unfortunately for the company, most market researchers believe the downward trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

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Apple Buyers Are Picking Macs

Apple has tried to position the iPad and MacBooks as separate devices with different focuses. But while customers are actively buying up new Macs, they’re bypassing iPads. Apple’s decision to put the iPad Pro in direct competition with lightweight notebooks might have hurt its tablet more than it imagined. For many customers, a MacBook or MacBook Pro is simply a better option.

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The Price Isn’t Right

Pricing matters greatly in today’s tablet business, but once again, Apple appears to be off the mark. One of the most successful tablets on Amazon.com right now is Amazon’s Fire, a slate that starts at $50. For many consumers, paying more than $1,000 for certain iPad versions just isn’t a worthwhile endeavor. And Apple has no response to that.

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Hybrids Are Still Appealing

Hybrids PCs are selling extraordinarily well right now and that’s also hurting tablets. Consumers and corporate customers apparently like the idea of buying one device that can double both as a tablet and notebook, so they’re buying hybrids in large numbers and leaving the tablets on store shelves.

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Tablet Owners Aren't in a Rush to Upgrade

According to several market analysts and researchers, tablet owners are not refreshing their tablets as often as the manufacturers might like. Not unlike PC owners, consumers and businesses are holding on to their tablets for longer than anticipated and then passing them down to others when it’s time to buy a new tablet. That cuts into sales volume.

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The Competition Is Fierce

Apple isn’t the only tablet vendor competing for more market share. Samsung, for example, is planning to unveil a high-end tablet at Mobile World Congress this month. Meanwhile, Apple needs to contend with cheap alternatives from Amazon as well as competition from smaller vendors around the world. It’s not easy to fire up tablet sales, even if you’re the company with the most market share.

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Competition Is Intense in Education, Business Markets

Apple has said the corporate and education markets are critical to iPad’s adoption. But competition is fierce there, too. Apple is facing off with companies such as Panasonic that make rugged devices or Samsung, which is actively addressing corporate security concerns. Plus, now there’s talk that tablets based on Chrome OS, which is particularly popular among educators, are in the works.

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Real International Concerns

Apple noted that Chinese iPad sales were strong in the fourth quarter, and that’s just one of many international markets that could prove critical in the coming years. However, iPads are generally far more expensive in international markets than competitors' models, and that makes Apple's tablets a tough sell in certain developing countries.

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New Features to Look for in Apple's iOS 11

Many of the rumors surrounding Apple’s plans for 2017 have centered on the next iPhone and what hardware the company might have planned for the smart home. But over the past few days, mobile market observers have turned their attention to the possible features in the next iteration of Apple’s iOS. The next version of Apple's mobile operating system is likely to be introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June and could include several improvements including an indoor mapping feature, a dark mode for use at night and enhancements to the Siri virtual assistant. There’s even talk that Apple has warmed up to Android enough to allow users to send text, photos and video messages to Android devices via iMessage. Of course, Apple hasn’t commented on its plans and won’t until it’s ready to unveil the operating system later this spring. But if the current rumors are true, Apple’s...
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