Their latest quarterly results are out, and they aren’t what some might have hoped. Sure, they beat the street estimates in some key numbers, but one telling bit of data is down again: iPhone sales.
Apple’s latest results showed impressive sales for iPhone and Macs, but the iPad was down again compared to last year (down 22%). Part of that is that the cheaper tablets are gaining in market share, which is to be expected. But tablet sales, outside of the absolute cheapest (and least functional) models are also slowing. Has the tablet established what it is going to do?
Yesterday, Thorsten Heins from RIM proclaimed that the tablet market will diminish within 5 years. His view is that the smartphone will be the focus of our attention, and that we will attach it to “big screens” when we need more real estate. The idea of dockable phones isn’t new. But, so far, it really hasn’t caught on with smartphone buyers. Given the current growth rates, and overwhelming mass of predictions about tablets replacing PC’s, it would seem to be easy to dismiss Heins’ predictions as the words of a madman trying to shake things up. But there is a cautionary tale that should at least give us pause before proclaiming the tablet as the future of personal computing.
Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of buzz about Apple either building or watch, or why they should build a watch. The links to the various analysts and pundits abound, but the best discussion about what an Apple watch could do is covered by Tog. Does it make sense for Apple to do a watch? Particularly when compared to the frenzy that previously was generated about a rumoured television? A watch is actually right up Apple’s alley.
Walt Mossberg at AllThingsD has a review of 3 convertible Windows 8 tablets which is succinct, but makes a subtle point (if you read between the lines): a convertible laptop/tablet is a compromise. None of the devices he reviewed are particularly light or thing. None of them have battery life that approaches the iPad or mainstream Android tablets. And, as we’ve seen from past reviews, Windows 8 doesn’t seem to be a great tablet OS, and the presence of tablet features may have compromised the traditional PC experience. But these convertible tablets beg a bigger question: will consumers change their mind on these things?
Rumours continue to abound about a smaller form-factor iPad. The New York Times claims that a 7.85″ iPad will arrive this fall, priced below $499. Reports from other media outlets have said the same thing. But this isn’t news. Ever since the arrival of the iPad, various analysts and media outlets have claimed to hold knowledge about a forthcoming smaller iPad. One of the lone holdouts in this area is All Things D, who generally seem to have a good handle on what goes on in the Silicon Valley. That isn’t to say a smaller tablet is a bad idea. I know I wouldn’t mind one, but I’m not sitting here thinking my current iPad is so much of boat anchor that it is barely portable.
A smaller iPad, like other smaller tablets, will be facing a considerable challenge, at least in the immediate term. Current sales figures on the Android side are mixed, and really don’t indicate strongly how much real demand there may or may not be for a smaller tablet.