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iPad sales growth doesn't herald a tablet-as-PC rush

Gregg Keizer | Aug. 11, 2017
Though Apple posted a 15% sales increase in its last quarter, don't credit its campaign to replace computers with iPads.

"But it will also be heavily dependent on iOS 11," Bajarin continued, talking about the upcoming upgrade. Almost certain to ship next month, iOS 11 adds a files manager, multiple windows and drag-and-drop to the tablet, the kind of core OS productivity tools that personal computer users demand. "Apple also needs to keep on that path," he said, "to make the iPad a more general-purpose computing platform," not only in customers' minds but also in developers'.

"[Developers] themselves have not felt it's a productivity platform," Bajarin said.

Another element Apple must adjust, of course, is price: The Cupertino, Calif. company could boost the iPad's chances of serving as a personal computer substitute by stretching the price band. In March, Apple cut the price of the then-iPad Air 2 by $70, or 18%, to get to the plainer iPad at $329. More reductions like that, Bajarin opined, would better position the iPad-as-PC concept for customers -- consumers and enterprise alike -- who currently rely on their smartphones as their one-and-only computer.

Ironically, it is the iPhone's high price that makes a lower-priced iPad smart, since the latter would be the secondary device, the one a user turns to for productivity-related tasks that are impossible, difficult or an annoyance when attempted on a phone's smaller screen.

"I think consumers will start moving in that direction in the next three to four years," Bajarin said of the currently computer-less.


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