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,
User Rank: Author
10/16/2014 | 7:37:10 AM
Re: Thinnest iPad ever
Thomas, 

Exactly.

There is an annoying tendency lately. People complain no matter what it is. People complained because U2 gave their new album for free and everyone who wanted it could download it on iTunes. I found surprising that Bono apologized for having done something nice. People are ungrateful. I felt so sorry for Bono and U2. :( 

It's really the first time I see that people consider a gift as something bad. 

And back to the iPhones and iPads. As I said earlier, devices don't brake by themselves without any help from the user. 

About people complaining and generating a snow ball on social media, I believe many of those people just repeat and retweet, or share what others have said in automatic mode. They don't even know what they are doing. 

People seem to be eternally unhappy with any technology lately. 

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/16/2014 | 7:06:24 AM
Re: ???
Pedro, 

"They forgot to mention whether they would make ipad's screens more durable.  I see a lot of people using their Ipads with the broken screens."

It's not that iPads don't have durable screens. The problem with some people is that they are careless. That's why they brake their iPad's screens.

Screens don't brake by themselves.

-Susan
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/15/2014 | 4:33:43 PM
Almost certain now that both a new iPad Air and new iPad Mini are coming
As noted in the story, rumors conflicted regarding whether Apple will refresh both the Mini and Air this week, or just the latter.

In Microsoft-like fashion, Apple accidentally posted (and then removed) information about the new tablets in an iBooks document. There wasn't a lot of specific information, aside from the ostensible inclusion of Touch ID in both models-- but now we know both devices are coming.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
10/15/2014 | 2:59:18 PM
Re: ???
New displays have traditionally been a key way Apple convinces users to upgrade.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
10/14/2014 | 11:39:42 PM
Re: ???
The features that interested me the most about new Ipads are that they are thinner and provide multitasking capabilities.   In terms of memory, since the OS and applications require more memory than its previous version it makes sense to increase them.  As with all things Apple, it already created a buzz.  They forgot to mention whether they would make ipad's screens more durable.  I see a lot of people using their Ipads with the broken screens. 

 
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
10/14/2014 | 6:02:39 PM
Re: ???
More power and Retina displays aren't compelling enough (for me, anyway) to buy a new Apple tablet. 

I have trouble even figuring out what to do with a tablet. I prefer a laptop, although that's probably because I spend most of my time typing. I could see a tablet useful for reading from time to time, but it just doesn't seem like a 'must-have' for me. 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/14/2014 | 3:50:06 PM
Re: ???
Good eye. The line's been changed to "Apple makes more money than Microsoft and Google combined."

The iPad Pro (or whatever it ends up being called) is no sure thing for Thursday, but there's enough buzz that I wouldn't be surprised. I'm eager to see what a larger iPad would bring, though the Retina iMacs are the rumored item that has me most intrigued.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
10/14/2014 | 3:22:49 PM
Thinnest iPad ever
I expect that after Apple makes its iPad even thinner, someone place it in a really big pocket, sit on it, bend it, and complain, reviving similar complaints about the iPhone 6. Thank you, social media!
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
10/14/2014 | 2:20:11 PM
???
"Apple makes more money than Apple and Google combined." I must say, that's an interesting observation. But I don't believe they will show an iPad Pro Thursday, though I would like them to.
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