News about Apple’s planned iPad Pro, a 12–inch plus slate aimed at bolstering the tablet range’s falling sales, is turning from a trickle to a torrent.
Leaks are now commonplace and rumours are flying about what Apple has planned and when it’ll release its new take on its tablet brand.
Today’s news that mass production has apparently been pushed back to the second quarter of 2015 suggests Apple is more than happy to focus on producing millions more iPhones and working on its upcoming Apple Watch.
But with recent gossip suggesting the iPad Pro could replace the iPad mini in Apple’s lineup, there’s no questioning the product’s importance to Tim Cook and co.
It needs an iPad sales success story after three consecutive quarters of falling sales.
The iPad’s struggles are more than a ‘speed bump’ as Tim Cook claimed over the summer. The tablet market is saturated and users don’t want to upgrade their slates as regularly as their smartphones.
Gartner stats released last month show that tablet growth will slow in 2014 to just 11%, down from 55% last year.
Consumers who have tablets don’t want or need a new one and no amount of impressive upgrades, such as the iPad Air 2, are going to change their minds.
So, where does the iPad Pro sit in all of this? Is it fixing a problem that exists? From this far out, it’s hard to say, although it’s likely that it will be a costly product, perhaps more expensive than its entry level MacBook Air models.
That begs the question: why buy a 12–inch tablet when you can buy a 12–inch laptop that’s far more powerful?
After all, Apple’s Mac business is defying the slowdown in the PC market, piling on sales every quarter.
Consumers seem to know what they would prefer.
At this juncture, it seems the iPad Pro is like applying a plaster to a mortal flesh wound.
Surely it would be better for Apple to stick with its current wide–ranging iPad plan, with a £199 entry level model, rising up to the top end iPad Air 2.
It’s not just Apple who are seeing these issues play out. Google has gone big with its Nexus 9 after its critically lauded Nexus 7 failed to catch on.
The whole tablet space is starting to get the whiff of desperation which surrounded the PC market for years: new models and new ideas that fail to excite and belie a growing desperation to claw back something that has passed.
This ‘Post PC’ world is set to be dominated by larger phones and the tablets that have already been sold. Perhaps 2015 is a year to take stock and regroup, rather than confusing matters further with new product categories.