Opinion: iPad sees year-over-year sales decline, and I blame iPadOS for that

Apple last week released its second-quarter earnings report, which ended in March. While the company just launched a new iPad Air with an M1 chip, Center Stage, and 5G support, the numbers show that the iPad is making less money and suffering from declining sales year on year. I personally blame iPadOS for that.

While the company was “extremely pleased” with the “all-time revenue record for services and revenue records for the March quarter for iPhone, Mac, wearables, home and accessories,” the iPad is struggling to sell well as it is down 2.2% year over year. 7.65 billion US dollars.

While Macs are finally catching up after years of controversy and issues over Intel chips and the lack of an improved macOS, the iPad feels like it’s going down the same controversial path that the Mac took some time ago.

Although no one can say that the iPad range has bad hardware, it is often heard that software does not keep track of it. While iPadOS might be great for the base iPad model, it always seems to lag behind the iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro models, here’s why.

iPadOS should be a little different for each iPad

For the iPad mini, iPadOS lacks optimization. Its weird aspect ratio looks like users are always experiencing a 4:3 display – like an old Tube TV. While this is the best iPad for using iPhone apps — I’m looking straight at you, Instagram — it’s strange that Apple hasn’t added a neat way to help users enjoy some of their best iPhone apps on that tablet screen.

Not only that, but in this product, multitasking is not exactly what users need. If Apple were to make a keyboard that was smaller and fit more apps on the home screen, it would actually make this iPad even better.

For the M1 iPad Air and iPad Pro, Apple should take the opposite direction: maximize your multitasking capabilities because larger screens can help you do more things at once. Especially when talking about the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple should add a proper “Pro” mode with windows and more apps open on the screen at the same time. Bloomberg Mark Gorman suggested three modes for iPadOS a few weeks ago:

  • Standard touch-first mode with the regular Home screen is part of iPadOS today.
  • New option that launches when Apple Pencil is connected, improved icons, controls, and widgets for this accessory.
  • Most importantly, a new “Professional” mode kicks in when you connect your iPad to a keyboard and trackpad, like Apple’s Magic Keyboard, or an external display.

iPads are expensive but can do less than a Mac

magic keyboard

Aside from the $329 base iPad model, all Apple tablets are pricey. Imagine paying $350 for a keyboard for your $1,599 iPad. It’s a banana. Well, one could say that the iPad models feature incredible hardware – which is true – but why add an M1 chip to a device that can’t multitask properly?

With the MacBook Air starting at $999 and the M1 Mac mini for $699 (Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse for $99 each), it’s cheaper to get a complete device with mature software than paying $699 for a 64GB iPad Air and $300 on your Magic Keyboard.

The problem is not that the iPad is expensive, the problem here is that the iPad costs a lot and does not do half of what users can do on a Mac, especially when talking about M1 Macs that can perform every task in the blink of an eye.

iPad sales concludes

9to5Mac She extensively covered what Apple could improve with its next iPad operating system, always wishing that the “next system” would finally unleash the power of the Pro models. Once the company does that, who knows if iPad sales won’t start growing again.

With WWDC 2022 right around the corner, what are your wishes for the upcoming iPadOS? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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