Though Apple's earnings results last quarter were exceptional, tech observers couldn't help but notice that iPad sales only came in at 13.3 million units, a 9.2% decrease from the same quarter a year ago. What's more, iPad sales during the March quarter were also down year over year, by about 19% to be exact.
Of course, pundits quickly slipped into panic mode, with some claiming that the tablet era was over, nothing more than a fad, while still others proclaimed that Apple's iPad pricing strategy was to blame.
Tim Cook, though, remains thoroughly optimistic about the iPad and its future prospects. A big iPad user himself, Cook earlier this year said that he does 80% of his work on an iPad. He also mentioned during Apple's most recent earnings conference call that there are many innovative features Apple can bake into its lineup of tablets going forward.
Most recently, Walt Mossberg of Re/Code relayed a short snippet of an interview he recently had with Cook over slumping iPad sales and the state of the tablet market.
In a brief interview about tablets I had this week with Apple CEO Tim Cook, he said, "We couldn't be happier with how we've done with the first four years of the iPad," and added that, "I'd call what's going on recently a speed bump, and I've seen that in every category."
While one wouldn't expect Cook to concede defeat, I believe his assessment is accurate. To a certain extent, the iPad is a victim of its own success. As opposed to smartphones where the upgrade cycle is about every two years, consumers are finding the iPad to be extremely robust, usable, and enjoyable even a few years out. In other words, the incentive to upgrade is much less. Also keep in mind that the most recent iPad -- the iPad Air -- didn't bring a tremendous amount of innovation (in a commercial sense) to the table aside from being extraordinarily thin and light.
I believe that once Apple adds Touch ID functionality to its iPad lineup, sales will pick back up again. On top of that, a recently published rumor from Bloomberg -- which should of course be taken with the requisite grain of salt -- claims that Apple plans to introduce a new 12.9-inch iPad model in 2015.