Apple's Next iPads: 13 Things To Expect - InformationWeek

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10/14/2014
11:03 AM
Michael Endler
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Apple's Next iPads: 13 Things To Expect

Apple is expected to reveal new iPads this week, including its long-rumored "iPad Pro." What else will Apple show off?
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In 2004, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dismissed concerns that Windows PCs far outpaced Macs in market share. "Apple's market share is bigger than BMW's or Mercedes's or Porsche's in the automotive market," he said. "What's wrong with being BMW or Mercedes?"

Were he alive today, Jobs would probably offer similar sentiments to the Wall Street analysts fretting over sliding iPad sales. After all, iPads control more market share and generate more profit than Macs ever have. Likewise, iPads remain more popular and lucrative than any other single family of tablets.

But much has changed since Jobs defended Mac market share. That statement arrived three years before Jobs started talking about the "post-PC" era that devices such as the iPhone and iPad ushered in. Those iOS devices rewrote the rules for their respective categories and pushed Apple's cultural clout into the stratosphere.

The success has created unprecedentedly high expectations for new Apple products. As the company's customers and shareholders have become accustomed to blockbuster advances, they've grown less impressed by quotidian metrics such as revenue. Many people don't care that Apple makes more money than Microsoft and Google combined; they care whether Apple keeps churning out blockbuster advances.

Does this mean Apple has become a victim of unrealistic expectations? Yes and no.

When Jobs compared Macs to luxury automakers, his point was this: No one criticizes Mercedes for choosing not to compete against Hyundai, so why should Apple be criticized for choosing not to release stripped-down Macs to compete against budget Windows OEMs? Current Apple CEO Tim Cook has sung much the same tune. "We're not in the junk business," Cook said last fall, shortly before the iPad Air's debut.

This aversion to "junk" is partly responsible for the falling iPad market share that has many analysts concerned. Cheap Android slates have exploded in popularity, expanding the overall tablet market and decreasing Apple's share. But most of this growth has occurred at the low end of the market, where OEMs sacrifice upfront profit in hopes of drawing new customers into extended ecosystems plays, such as device accessories or cloud services. Apple doesn't consider low-cost Android tablets to be true competitors to its highly polished, high-margin iPads -- just as Mercedes execs probably couldn't care less about sales of new Volkswagens.

But even if Apple isn't concerned about Android's popularity, iPads face other challenges. Until recently, Apple was losing tablet share merely because iPad sales weren't growing as fast as sales of other of tablets; that is, despite decreasing market share, iPad shipments were still improving. That's no longer the case. Last quarter, iPad revenue was down 8% year-over-year.

Then again, aside from the cheapest devices, this sales slowdown has impacted the entire tablet industry, not just iPads. Sales are down partly because the PC market has stabilized. Over the last few years, many people bought tablets instead of new PCs not only because tablets can handle many PC tasks, but also because many old PCs continue to run very well. Just look at Windows XP's stubbornly high market share -- many people won't replace their PCs until the computers stop booting up.

PC sales are unlikely to rebound to peak levels, but it's clear millions of us still need mouse-and-keyboard functionality. Many people neglected PCs in order to buy new iPads, but that dynamic might have reversed.

Indeed, to many, iPad upgrades don't feel urgent because older devices continue to perform so well. Whereas many people buy new smartphones every couple years, iPads have settled into a more PC-like upgrade cadence. Between stronger PC sales and longer-than-expected iPad refresh cycles, Apple's opportunities for growth aren't as obvious as they once were. The company also faces increased pressure at the high end from tablets and 2-in-1s with new Intel processors.

Assuming Apple releases new iPads this Thursday, as expected, the issue won't be whether the new tablets will be improved -- they will be. Rather, the issue will be whether the new devices are improved enough to justify a purchase. Luckily for Apple, the new devices will likely boast substantial upgrades. iPad changes won't be as extreme as those introduced in the iPhones 6 and 6 Plus, but, with a flurry of incremental upgrades, Apple's newest tablets will bring plenty to the table. What should you be excited about? Here are 13 of the most enticing new iPad features and products we expect Apple to announce this week.

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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10/19/2014 | 10:15:11 AM
Re: ???
Pedro,

Compacting more electronics and more functionality in today's devices is something that for years people asked for.

Try to not fall into the current trap that seems to be around: People are unhappy no matter what it is and complain for absolutely everything that technology is bringing today.

People complain even about the devices that have never seen, like the Apple Watch. How they can complain and criticize something they have never seen is inexplicable to me. :/

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/19/2014 | 10:09:27 AM
Re: To buy one or not to
zaious, 

Yes, there is something about finding that "equilibrum."It also depends of different factors. People are driven by different motivations. 

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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10/19/2014 | 10:03:56 AM
Re: ???
SachinEE, 

If not really a manufacturers problem if people don't take care of their belongings, especially when they are expensive. Can you have a delicate glass product and treat it as if it were made of steel? No, right?

Well, in the same way you can't treat your phones and iPads as if they were a made of plastic, or iron. Materials have limitations and no one can do anything about that. The same with the electronics part, not only the screens.

Don't blame Apple if you let your iPhone fall. Try to be more careful, instead. :) Wouldn't that be something you would tell a child?

-Susan 

 
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
10/17/2014 | 6:09:22 PM
Re: ???
@ Sachin EE.  you are right, if people aren't going to take care of their devices, then don't get apple products.  I'm just very surprise to see people using their crack iphones and ipads.  I can't imagine why they don't fix it or take better care of them.  In that case, the phones prior to smartphones were better in terms of being sturdy.  They didn't have that many functionalities but they could take a real beating.
zaious
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zaious,
User Rank: Ninja
10/16/2014 | 11:20:56 PM
To buy one or not to
We saw discussions about the prices and the servecs. However, there was a tendency at the beginning years to get the lastest one even if your old ones is not an ancient model. But, I believe most people have got to their 'equilibirum' point. If I bought an iPand in 2013, I would not jump (or try to) buy an iPad. If mine were from 2012, I might give it a thought. 

But, 'I need to have the latest' this is not a fad anymore (very few can afford it). 
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
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10/16/2014 | 10:59:31 PM
Re: ???
@pedrogonzales: Apple products are overpriced. However the services they give are unparalleled. People should consider their ability to take care of products before buying Apple products, because every one of them cost a ton and would make anybody a care freak.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
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10/16/2014 | 10:57:31 PM
Re: ???
Most people do not take care of their belongings and that includes fumbling or juggling of delicate products, however, companies can lessen some of the blame by making products more hardy. For example, my Lumia 920 fell screen first on the ground and still not a single scratch whereas if I had to compare, my iPhone 5S broke instantly falling from the same height (results during a drop test). I am not blaming Apple, because I am aware of the fact that products are different and forces may be different, but what I am asking is to make screens more sturdy.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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10/16/2014 | 10:41:33 AM
Re: ???
Pedro, one more thing. I wonder if those people blame the car manufacturer for not making anti-crash cars when they go crashing their car. 

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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10/16/2014 | 10:39:12 AM
Re: ???
Pedro, 

"If i had a $600 tablet, I would take care of it as if it was a baby."

Exactly. You don't go being careless with an expensive device so you brake it and then go on blaming the company because you did crash the screen.

I can't imagine what those people you saw with iPads with broken screens did to them. It's certainly not Apple's fault. 

-Susan
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
10/16/2014 | 10:32:16 AM
Re: ???
You are right. I really can't imagine what people do with their ipads.  They really look as if they went through a lot.   If i had a $600 tablet, I would take care of it as if it was a baby.
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