ipad mini vs ipad airHuffington Post has this little write-up on the iPad situation. In short: sales of iPads are flat, why can this be?

They list the usual reasons—other brands are cheaper, Apple won’t budge on price and so on—but also offer a new one that’s true for me: people simply don’t upgrade their tablets as often.

Perhaps it’s because they prioritize upgrading their phones, which they carry with them daily, so there is no money left for a frill like a tablet. Perhaps it’s because there has not been as much innovation in the tablet sector recently—my iPad 2 is still going strong after two years, and Apple has only just stopped selling this model. There is time yet to run my iPad into the ground!

But the HuffPo people raise an interesting point. When I do run it into the ground, what will I replace it with? If I wind up with a new ultra-light MacBook Air, which is for the most part equivalent in form factor to my aging iPad plus Keyboard combo, will I want or need another full-size tablet? Perhaps I won’t. I got my iPad when my laptop was still too clunky to really carry around. If that’s not going to be true anymore, then maybe the mini form factor will suffice for my tablet needs. And if I could get an off-brand for a quarter of the price, will the Apple price premium still be worth it to me? Time will tell…

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  1. I agree with the idea that we don’t need to upgrade iPads or other brand tablets that often. My iPad 3 is fast enough to run current apps and has the same memory capacity as the newest iPad. Its wi-fi is faster than my DSL connection. Sure, I’d save some weight but the older iPad is already light enough.

    I’m wondering the same slowdown will come with new phone purchases. For the first few years, iPhones improved dramatically in performance. Now they are plenty fast enough for everybody but hardcore gamers. I’m planning on keeping my Nexus phone for a few more years as it too should remain adequate for some time.

  2. Michael McKee and HuffPo are right and that’s hardly unique.

    * My iPad 3 is still doing all I need it to do and then some. I can’t think of any reason to get a newer model.

    * My seven-year-old MacBook still works fine for its one use, writing in Scrivener away from my home office.

    Only my iPhone 3GS is showing signs of age. About once a week it shuts down for no apparently reason, even though the battery is well-charged. I put it on a charger and a half-hour so later it feels better again and returns to life. That’s weird but not enough reason to upgrade until the iPhone 6 comes out and I can get a Verizon iPhone 5 at a reasonable price. And given how lousy the AT&T coverage is inside my house, that is one upgrade I must make.

    Change brands? Apple knew what it was doing when it created app stores for iOS and OS X. Upgrading any of their products to those of a different company would mean finding replacements for dozens of apps I use at least occasionally.

    The long-awaited Scrivener for iOS is what I need now. Then my iPad plus keyboard become a MacBook Air equivalent without making a big hole in my bank account.

  3. I think you are spot on, Joanna. Tablets were the new eReaders which were just the new netbooks. They will continue to be popular, but at some point you can’t continue to grow at ridiculous rates: the technology matures and most people that want your product have it.

  4. Yes, I don’t upgrade my device to a newer version unless it is broken. It is a waste of money and resources to buy new ones when your old ones are working properly. I have an iPad 2 and it satisfies my needs perfectly. I won’t buy any new iPad until it cannot be used any more.

  5. I see several reasons for iPads not being sold anymore [in such staggering numbers as when they were introduced for the first time]
    A. [Almost] everyone who wants one already has one
    B. People who are not keen enough on having one to buy one have Hand-me-down units
    C. iPad is very expensive and very well made, so owners are not that keen to get an upgrade, and when do upgrade they hand down still functioning one to broup described in B.
    D. There is bigger competition pressure [comparing to the era when iPad was the only game in town], with [[significantly]cheaper] Android tablets that are “good enough”, large screen phones, chromebooks.

  6. After the initial novelty of having a tablet wore off, I found I didn’t use the device that much; my iPod Touch serves me fine for a portable reading and music device (the main thing I use it for), and my laptop works for everything else. While it’s an Android tablet rather than an iPad, I suspect the same would’ve been true with an iPad — fun toy, but not a device that I use enough to replace when it dies, let alone one that I need to upgrade because a spiffier version’s out.

    For that matter, my 4th generation iPod Touch won’t run iOS 7, which means I can’t upgrade more and more apps, but that’s not driving me to replace it; everything I actually *need* on it works. Why waste my money and contribute to pollution from used electronics when I can keep using it until it dies (and, depending on what goes wrong, possibly be able to have it repaired and keep it running for another few years)?

  7. When my iPad dies I will have to get a new one as it has replaced the time my wife and I once spent watching TV and using the desktop and laptop. My wife agees (and she is a librarian Luddite) the iPad is indispensable. There is no turning back, no switching brands. We are owned.

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