10 Things Apple Could Do to Revitalize iPad Business
10 Things Apple Could Do to Revitalize iPad Business
Apple on Sept. 9 is expected to announce new iPads, including perhaps a larger iPad Pro. But will the new tablets be enough to jump-start sales?
Focus on China's Market Opportunities
China has become Apple's largest market and is also driving a big portion of its iPad sales. As Apple looks to ramp up its presence in China and dramatically expand its retail footprint, the company should push its iPad hard. While the Chinese market is maturing and currently facing serious economic turmoil, there are still millions of potential customers for Apple's tablets.
Think Seriously About Other Emerging Markets
India is quickly becoming a major market opportunity for most technology companies. Realizing that, it's a good idea for Apple to establish its iPad in India sooner rather than later. Part of Apple's problem is that its iPad is too expensive for most of India's consumers, but if the company delivers a low-end option at a cheap price, it could be in a good position to improve its standing in India—arguably the biggest market opportunity in the world after China.
The iPad Pro Is a Good Idea
There's little doubt that Apple should deliver an iPad Pro at its Sept. 9 event. The company's 7.9- and 9.7-inch iPads feel stale, and Apple needs something that will appeal to enterprise users, graphic designers and others seeking a high-end tablet experience. It's time for Apple to finally announce the iPad Pro and get it to customers in the corporate world.
Focus on the Enterprise Value
Following that, it's important that Apple looks seriously at how its hardware and software are delivering enterprise value. Does Apple really do enough to convey the value of the iPad to enterprise customers? Can it do more with its mobile device management platforms to get IT to splurge on slates? Apple needs to take a good, hard look at its enterprise appeal and see if it can do more.
Consider a Cost-Cutting Maneuver
Several analysts argue that part of Apple's problem with its tablets is that they are too expensive in general. One way to boost unit sales would be to reduce the price on at least the iPad Mini 3—and perhaps the entire iPad line. Apple likes to keep prices static, but its clear its current strategy isn't working. Shaking things up and modifying its pricing could be a good way to boost interest in iPads.
Take the Fight to Android Competitors
After Apple released its earnings for the June quarter, a few analysts argued that the company is not doing enough to take the fight to Android competitors. While Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the iPad has a stronger attraction than any Android tablet, analysts contend that the lower prices of Android slates and the appeal of Google's operating system have negatively affected iPad sales. Perhaps, then, it's time for Apple to target Android devices in ads and clearly illustrate why its option is tops.
Think Long and Hard About Screen Sizes
Another issue for the iPad division, according to analysts, is the growing popularity of phablets—smartphones that come with large screens that nearly match lower-end tablets. Customers see more value in buying big smartphones than having a smaller phone and a tablet sidekick. Apple needs to acknowledge that market factor and determine whether displays of 7.9 inches and 9.7 inches really are best for its current product lineup. It might be time to boost all screen sizes and launch an iPad Pro with a 13-inch screen to distance its tablets from big-screen smartphones.
Understand That MacBooks May Be Cannibals
Apple's lightweight MacBook and MacBook Air are fine products that deliver a full computing experience. While they may be helping Apple's Mac line, analysts say that lightweight, affordable notebooks are also cannibalizing tablet sales. Therefore, Apple will need to evaluate its operation to determine whether it would rather sell more iPads or lightweight notebooks in the coming years. If market researchers and analysts are to be believed, there's no way for the company to do both at the same time.
Add More IBM-Like Partners
One of the smartest moves Apple has made to appeal to enterprise customers has been to ink a deal with IBM and have that company sell Apple products through its channel. Apple needs to expand its channel program to include more major companies that would be willing to sell devices like the iPad to enterprise customers. A proper value-added reseller program or even just a major partnership in the vein of IBM could help Apple attract more large-scale enterprises seeking tablets.
Force a Faster Upgrade Cycle
During his company's earnings call in July, Apple CEO Tim Cook that he believes the iPad upgrade cycle, or the amount of time between buying new tablets, will decline. He didn't say how that will happen, but Cook should do everything he can to improve the iPad upgrade cycle. He may achieve that goal by more rapidly upgrading the iPad, delivering enhanced features that customers want and simply making a compelling reason for them to drop their current slates for a new one. It's no easy task, but if Cook says he can quicken the iPad upgrade cycle, he should—and soon.