One foolish tech writer whose style mirrors sensationalism says Apple’s new iOS 10 is about to make a bunch of iPads obsolete. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because the latest version of iOS won’t run on an older iPad does not mean the device is obsolete. In reality, it runs better than it did when it was new. So, what’s going on?
Apple’s iPad business is in a downfall and suffering from– not slowing sales– dropping sales. Dropping for more than two years. Why? What’s going on?
First on my list is the utility of the iPad. It’s not an iPhone. It’s not a Mac. It’s the ‘tweener’ device and that means over time sales get squeezed by the more usable and valuable devices. iPhone and Mac. The former is more mobile and useful, the latter is more powerful.
Second on my list is how the iPad’s are made. They’re tanks. I still see original iPads– circa 2010 before Steve Jobs died– being used by kids and schools and some adults. Most iPad customers do not load up their devices with dozens of apps. Mail. Safari. Calendar. Contacts. Music and movies. Netflix. And not much more. That means the use case remains substantial, and there has yet to be a true average life cycle develop. If it ain’t broke, don’t trade it in for a new model because new models don’t do much more than old models.
Third on my list is the disparity between operating system versions. Some may think older iPads become obsolete when they don’t run the latest iOS version, but that’s anemic thinking and false reasoning. The reality is this. Older iPads got better over time– because they could run newer versions of iOS– but there is a limit. Many iPads have reached the limit of upgradability to a new iOS version, but they’re already three or four years beyond their original iOS version anyway.
That’s not planned obsolescence. That’s a gift from Apple. Old iPads that run newer versions of iOS are an improvement over the original (your mileage may vary, as many new iOS features may not work appropriately on older iPads, even if they run iOS 10).
Fourth on my list is the use case scenario built in to each device. Many Mac users could get by fine with an iPad and Bluetooth keyboard, but Macs do heavy lifting that just cannot be accomplished with any iPad. The iPhone is more mobile and an iPad, and, well, it’s a cell phone and a better camera. The iPad falls in between and Apple just hasn’t done much to segregate iPad’s use case list from Mac or iPhone. That’s not good for devices that just keep working. Since the use case hasn’t expanded, why bother to get a new iPad?
Sooner or later, though, older iPads die or become unable to run many new Mac apps, so the upgrade cycle will begin to settle in and perhaps grow the line again. Apple hasn’t helped by keeping iPad prices relatively high and moving into the Pro space; vs. addressing the needs of the great unwashed masses with more utility and capability.