Neil Cybart’s article on declining iPad sales is astute and worth reading. Neil in this post observes that iPad is mostly used as a device to consume contents. To grow sales again, Apple need to transform iPad in to a content creation device.
By selling a device that is truly designed from the ground-up with content creation in mind, the iPad line can regain a level of relevancy that it has lost over the past few years. In every instance where the iPad is languishing in education and enterprise, a larger iPad with a 12.9-inch, Force Touch-enabled screen would carry more potential. Simply put, the iPad needs to stand out from the iPhone and Macbook. The iPad Air and iPad mini aren’t doing it.
I think just new hardware is not enough for content creation. I agree with Khoi Vinh’s thoughts on why iPad sales has declined.
To me, the central issue is whether Apple is functioning as an effective steward for the iPad as a platform. Are they creating the right conditions for it to succeed? Are they innovating iPad technology, both hardware and software, quickly and aggressively enough? Is Apple setting the stage for must-have software on the iPad?
More practically, you could ask: are developers getting what they need in order to create breakout software specific to the iPad? Have we seen iPad-specific apps that are so compelling that consumers feel that they must own iPads in order to use them?
Lukas Mathis also highlights iOS issues as well lack of interest from iOS app developers.
iOS is a cumbersome system for even reasonably complex productive tasks. Apple has started fixing the window management problem, but there’s still the document management problem1 (most real-world tasks involve multiple documents from multiple sources — there’s pretty much no way to organize and manage document from different applications in iOS), and the workflow problem (many real-world tasks involve putting the same document through multiple apps, which iOS is still not great at, albeit getting better).
And then there’s the fact that few developers are willing to invest a lot of money into productive apps on the iPad. They are expensive to create, the market is small, and Apple’s handling of how apps are sold on its devices does not instill confidence.
The thing that’s preventing people from using the iPad productively is not the small screen, it’s the operating system.
It is clear that common thought here is lack of software innovation. Is software really important for Apple? Do Apple believe creating good quality software takes fair amount of work? Apple is giving away their software for free for a long time now. They also created a market where users expect either free or cheap software. I have written about this concern earlier here and here in 2013.
Brent Simmon’s post on making living by selling apps is accurate and disheartening at the same time.
Yes, there are strategies for making a living, and nobody’s entitled to anything. But it’s also true that the economics of a thing may be generally favorable or generally unfavorable — and the iOS App Store is, to understate the case, generally unfavorable. Indies don’t have a fighting chance.
The platform is awesome. We love writing iOS apps. It’s fun and massively rewarding in every way except monetarily. As a craft — as a budding art form, perhaps — it’s juicy.
Based on our own experience, developing good quality software is difficult and definitely not free. It is hard to stay motivated without fair return for the work involved in developing good software. Having said that we are going ahead with our plan to release Hallows Thieves like I said earlier this month. We believe this is the the right thing to do. We want our app in the app store to deliver 100% of benefits and features we promised you. It is sad that simple program like Hallows Thieves is broken within just couple releases of iOS. Apple must pay attention to software quality as they add/update their software platform.
PS: Just noticed a nice article,
Meanwhile, the irony is that it’s not actually the gold that’s the luxury but the software – that tap on the wrist telling you to turn left. In a sense, the gold case is an accessory to the software in the same way that the strap is an accessory to the watch.
Well said, hope Apple has plans to make iOS ecosystem exciting, again.