I noticed an article at Seeking Alpha's analyst site last week that caught my eye. It was titled Apple's Accelerating Tablet Dominance Is Underappreciated and it went over several points that Apple's tablet lineup now has in its favor. Author Zvi Bar makes some pretty convincing arguments, but does that matter?
First, after a few years of steep declines, Apple has finally fixed the good ship iPad. Revenues are not noticeable, but given how poorly they (and most other competing tablets) sold not so long ago, $ 5 billion is a victory for Apple. A big reason why the situation has improved is that they have done a good job of creating a cohesive tablet setup to suit every need and budget. The pros have features and designs that stand out as truly premium, while the new Air sits square in the middle, and the iPad and iPad Mini offer great value for money at the lower end.
As Mr Bar points out, Apple stuck to its guns and outwitted most of the biggest competition in the room. At this point, Amazon is near the bottom of the name brand market with its consumer-oriented devices. Now that Google is gone, Samsung is really the only competitor in premium tablets, but they are not gaining ground and do not appear to be trying to do so at this time. Even if you think of Microsoft's Surface as a touch-first tablet (which it really isn't), they still have nowhere near iPad's sales and market share. The fact is that Apple owns the name appeal and the profits of the tablet.
So Apple's iPad owns the tablet. What does it mean in tech today? Unfortunately, when you talk about the scale that Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are trading, $ 5 billion is a fall in the bucket. Apple can use everything it can to combat falling iPhone sales and revenue, but tablets are just a small piece of that puzzle right now. As a reference, we're talking about $ 5 billion of $ 53.8 billion in total revenue for Apple last quarter. Mac hardware, which iPad had sent up at one point, generated $ 5.82. Wearables was at $ 5.5, and passed both Mac and iPad. Then the rolling services came in at $ 1
Don't get me wrong. I still love the iPad and think it still has a bright future. In fact, with the right enhancements and additional features, I still think it may have another breeze to watch it grow further and become a more important piece of Apple's puzzle. Although the iPad is probably undervalued and deserves respect for being the strongest tablet lineup in the market, the facts are facts. Even as a writer for a site that was previously exclusively focused on iPad, I have to admit that iPad is currently treading water to the bottom of Apple's current product lineup.
I'm not worried about this right now. The iPad is very stable and if anything is growing slowly now that there is a full lineup that has better affordable options. Apple also continues to invest in the iPad, with several great new hardware and software features, and even a device-specific fork of iOS that will now have its own roadmap and progression. I'm excited about what Apple is doing with the device now. That said, with no continued growth, Apple will eventually focus and develop resources elsewhere. Hopefully, steady growth will continue in the near term as Apple searches for new features that will lead the iPad to another period of growth.
So is the iPad not appreciated? I think it still is. However, I cannot deny that there is a legitimate reason why many people do not notice it right now.