Monday, Feb 01, 2021, 19:07 Hardware

The iPad, And Tablets As A Whole, Making A Comeback

11 years ago, when Apple released the 1st generation of iPads, it appeared as if Apple's massive success with the iPhone was repeating itself. Sales numbers quickly shot up and the days of the conventional computer were considered to be coming to an end as a result. Representatives at Apple were of the belief that the tablet was the device of the future. On several occasions, Steve Jobs claimed that we were witnessing the "Post PC" era. At the D8 Conference he said that normal PCs would still have a place in the market, albeit only a fraction of that which they had previously held. However, this turned out not to be the case, as tablet sales quickly stagnated shortly after. This is partly due to competition with smartphones, which have become more commonplace and are capable of performing many of the same tasks as a tablet, but computers are still being sold en masse. The ARM switch even shows how much attention Apple is still dedicating to the computer market.

An Abrupt Change In Trend Starting In 2013
iPad sales numbers increased steadily for 3 years until reaching a record of 25 million sales in the Christmas quarter of 2013 – followed by an abrupt drop in sales. Afterward, the iPad division only saw sales numbers of more than 15 million once, with sales numbers often not even reaching the double digits. However, Apple didn't give up on the iPad and has continued to invest further in the platform and Tim Cook himself never failed to emphasize the value held by tablets in terms of productivity. Partially attributed to cheaper models of the iPad – such as the unnamed base model, Apple eventually managed to at least reverse the negative trend in sales.

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2020, Tablets Become A Sought After Product Again
In the past year, however, the iPad has almost made a full-swung comeback – although not due entirely to natural demand. The corona pandemic and the resulting change to conditions in the workplace and schooling is mostly responsible for the change in demand. As much was said by Tim Cook and Luca Maestri, concerning the recent increase in demand for tablets, at a recent press conference on the latest quarterly figures. Although Apple refrained from mentioning any units with respect to sales numbers, according to the market research company Canalys, Apple sold more than 19 million iPads. Numbers like these haven't been seen since 2014, with the iPad having been relegated to a "Christmas seller".

The Rest Of The Market
If one compares the performance of Apple's iPad with tablets on the rest of the market, it can clearly be seen that not just the iPad is benefiting from the current situation – but also the entire tablet market. According to Canalys, 34.3 million tablets were sold last year. This year? 52.8 million. That's a growth of more than 50%, but since Apple only observed a growth of 40%, their market share fell by 4% down to 36%.

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