Apple’s most recent earnings call that showed less-than-stellar results for the iPad got me thinking a bit. I’m a fan of the iPad. I’ve had the original, the iPad 2, the iPad 3 (retina), the iPad mini, and now the iPad Air. Initially I was upgrading every year as the hardware rapidly evolved. However I’ve now slowed my uptake a bit, skipping the iPad 4 and iPad Air 2, and (absent compelling new features I’m not imagining yet) I think I might coax a 3rd year out of my iPad Air.
This doesn’t show a lack of interest in the iPad for me, rather that the iPad Air is sufficiently good that I’m still happy with it. That said, while I love it for content consumption and digital wireframing, if I had to make a choice I couldn’t prioritize it above my laptop or phone.
It’s definitely a luxury device at this point, and one that can serve suitably for multiple years. I’m curious to see if it continues evolving into something that can be “the primary computer for the masses” or if it will fall back into a content consumption niche.
I think it’s fair to say that developers finding themselves unable to charge sustainable prices for iPad software is a real barrier to the iPad making the leap from consumption device to replacing the laptop for the masses.
Unless something changes fairly drastically, my guess is that it will remain a consumption device into the near-term future.