"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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