Archive of iPad Rumors

The Microsoft Surface has been ranked the highest in overall consumer satisfaction, and six points above Apple's iPad in second place, according to J.D. Power's 2017 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study. This marks the first top spot win for Microsoft in all six years that J.D. Power has published the Tablet Satisfaction Study, with the company earning a total 855 satisfaction score out of a potential 1,000 points.

The J.D. Power U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction in the tablet market by looking at five areas: performance (28 percent); ease of operation (22 percent); features (22 percent); styling and design (17 percent); and cost (11 percent). The study accounts for 2,238 tablet owners who have owned their current device for less than one year, with participants being questioned between October and December 2016.

With these rankings, Microsoft has received the designation as "among the best" on the market, while Apple at 849 points is "better than most."


According to J.D. Power, Microsoft's win this year "is largely due to its top rankings in the features and styling & design factors." The company earned top marks in categories related to the variety of pre-loaded applications, internet connectivity, and availability of manufacturer-supported accessories. This last category highlights the Surface's versatility, according to consumers, who reportedly "have the highest incidences of accessory use" with Microsoft Surface when compared to competitors.

Specifically, the Microsoft Surface's stylus saw a 48 percent usage rate in comparison to 27 percent of the industry average, while the tablet's add-on keyboard had a 51 percent usage rate in comparison to just a 14 percent industry average. Rounding out the Surface's pros were its variety of input/output ports (like a microSD card slot, USB 3.0, and 3.5mm headphone jack) and amount of internal storage available.
“The Microsoft Surface platform has expanded what tablets can do, and it sets the bar for customer satisfaction,” said Jeff Conklin, vice president of service industries at J.D. Power. “These tablet devices are just as capable as many laptops, yet they can still function as standard tablets. This versatility is central to their appeal and success.”
Microsoft also beat Apple in areas like the size of the tablet, quality of materials used, and attractiveness of tablet design. Microsoft's customers who are using the Surface Pro line of tablets are said to largely be early adopters (51 percent), younger than the customers of its competitors, and "more likely to consider productivity features as important." Microsoft customers tend to list productivity-related tasks as "very important" in comparison to industry average, like emailing, word processing, and banking.


Overall, J.D. Power found that customer satisfaction with their tablets is rising, with the study average sitting at 841 and increasing 21 index points from the six-months-ago iteration of the study. Customers are also tending to choose large screens, with satisfaction at 869 points for customers with screens measuring 10 inches or more, 850 points for screens 8-10 inches or more, and 824 for screens less than 8 inches.

More key findings include:


  • Driving the selection process: Lower price and past experience are the most commonly cited reasons for tablet selection among customers (22% each). Reputation is next at 19%.
  • Data plans increase satisfaction: Nearly one-third (32%) of customers have a data plan with their tablet. Overall satisfaction among customers with a data plan is 863 vs. 834 among those without such a plan.

    Apple has moved up and down J.D. Power's Tablet Satisfaction Study throughout the years, earning the top spot on some iterations of the study, while falling back down a few months later in others. Previous first place holders include Amazon and its Fire Tablets, as well as Samsung. When it's on top, Apple has used J.D. Power's ratings in numerous web campaigns in the past.
  • The new 9.7-inch iPad is now available for purchase at select Apple Retail Stores in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan, according to the company's in-store pickup tool enabled today. A handful of stores may have had limited stock already, but supplies now appear ample for Apple to accept reservations.


    Apple has yet to activate Personal Pickup in other countries where it operates Apple Retail Stores, including Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Macao, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

    Nevertheless, in-store stock may be available as early as today in some of those countries as well. Apple said the new 9.7-inch iPad would be available to purchase at select Apple Retail Stores, authorized resellers, and carrier stores by the end of this week in more than 20 countries. Call ahead to check.

    Availability of new 9.7-inch iPad in Los Angeles area Apple Stores today

    Apple began accepting online orders for the new 9.7-inch iPad on its website last week, with initial orders estimated for delivery between March 31 and April 5 in the United States. Orders placed today are estimated to ship between April 6 and April 14 depending on the shipping method selected.

    Apple accepts iPad returns within 14 calendar days of receiving an online order, so some customers that still have a far out delivery date may elect to try their luck in stores, but your mileage may vary. Online orders can also be canceled on Apple's website if they have yet to be processed for shipment.

    Apple unveiled the new 9.7-inch iPad last week as a low-cost successor to the iPad Air 2, which has been discontinued. The tablet features a faster A9 chip and brighter Retina display than the iPad Air 2, but it is somewhat thicker and heavier than the iPad Air 2 since it lacks a fully laminated display.

    The tablet essentially packs an iPhone 6s chip with other iPad Air 2 components into an original iPad Air design. Read our new 9.7-inch iPad vs. iPad Air 2 article for a side-by-side comparison of complete tech specs.

    The new 9.7-inch iPad starts at $329 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi, making it the cheapest new tablet that Apple has ever sold. Apple also offers a 128GB model with Wi-Fi for $429, while cellular-capable 32GB and 128GB models are available for $459 and $559 respectively in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray.
    iFixit has shared a brief teardown of Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad unveiled last week, and unsurprisingly, the tablet looks just as much like an original iPad Air on the inside as it does on the outside.


    In the side-by-side photo above, iFixit noted the original iPad Air on the left has a slightly larger Wi-Fi module compared to the new 9.7-inch iPad on the right, but otherwise the tablets look virtually identical.

    iFixit said the new 9.7-inch iPad remains difficult to repair due to the front panel being glued to the device and strong adhesive holding everything in place. One plus is that the battery is not soldered to the logic board.

    The new 9.7-inch iPad is all about price. It's the cheapest new tablet that Apple has ever sold, starting at $329, yet with a brighter display and a faster A9 processor compared to the now-discontinued iPad Air 2.

    The fifth-generation iPad, as it is officially known, is also somewhat thicker and heavier than the iPad Air 2 since it lacks a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating in order to keep costs down.


    The tablet's tech specs are otherwise identical to the iPad Air 2, including a display resolution of 2,048‑by‑1,536 at 264 PPI, 8-megapixel rear iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel front FaceTime camera, two speakers, Lightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, Touch ID with Apple Pay, and Bluetooth 4.2.

    The new 9.7-inch iPad can be ordered now on Apple's website in the United States and dozens of other countries.

    Apple said the new 9.7-inch iPad is also available to purchase at select Apple Stores, authorized resellers, and carrier stores starting this week in more than 20 countries, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.
    Back in mid-March, mobile marketing company Fiksu spotted four new iPad identifiers in its device data, hinting at the imminent release of new hardware.

    We did indeed see a new low-cost 9.7-inch iPad introduced via press release on Tuesday, March 21, but as it turns out, the identifiers for the new 9.7-inch iPad don't match up with the iPads Fiksu saw, suggesting there could still be additional iPad models set to be released in the not-so-distant future.


    The new iPad's identifier is "iPad6,11" and "iPad6,12," with one number each for for Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. Fiksu, meanwhile, saw the following identifiers in its device logs:

    - iPad7,1
    - iPad7,2
    - iPad7,3
    - iPad7,4

    These numbers could perhaps refer to new iPad Pro models in two sizes, 12.9-inch and either 9.7-inches or perhaps the new rumored 10.5-inch model. The identifiers Fiksu saw are similar to the existing identifiers for the current 9.7 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models.

    - 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi) - iPad 6,7
    - 12.9 inch iPad Pro (Cellular) - iPad 6,8
    - 9.7-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi) - iPad 6,3
    - 9.7-inch iPad Pro (Cellular) - iPad 6,4

    In the original report, Fiksu said the number of new iPad models in its data was steadily ramping up, and that in its experience, those increasing numbers indicate an "imminent" release. Fiksu suggested the new iPad models could launch within a month, which would put a release somewhere around mid-April.

    There has been a lot of confusion around iPad Pro launch timelines. Rumors originally suggested a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro model, and perhaps a new 12.9-inch model would launch in the spring alongside the low-cost 9.7-inch model, but we only got the latter.

    It is now unclear when we will see new iPad Pro models. The release of a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad (and a new iPhone color and new Apple Watch bands) via press release seems to suggest we aren't going to see a spring event and thus no spring launch of new iPads, but it's not an impossibility.

    If a spring debut doesn't happen, we could potentially see a launch at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June or Apple could hold off on a launch until the fall, introducing iPads alongside new iPhones in September. At this point, Apple's iPad plans are murky at best, and we'll need to wait for more information to narrow down a release timeline.
    Apple has just begun accepting orders for the new 9.7-inch iPad and (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on its online store in the United States and dozens of other countries and regions around the world. (PRODUCT)RED iPhones are also available for in-store pickup at select Apple Stores starting today.


    The new 9.7-inch iPad is equipped with a faster Apple A9 chip and brighter Retina display compared to the iPad Air 2, which has been discontinued. It is also somewhat thicker and heavier than the iPad Air 2 since it lacks a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating in order to keep costs down.

    The tablet's tech specs are otherwise identical to the iPad Air 2, including a display resolution of 2,048‑by‑1,536 at 264 PPI, 8-megapixel rear iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel front FaceTime camera, two speakers, Lightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, Touch ID with Apple Pay, and Bluetooth 4.2.

    The new 9.7-inch iPad starts at $329 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi, making it the cheapest new tablet that Apple has ever sold. Apple also offers a 128GB model with Wi-Fi for $429, while cellular-capable 32GB and 128GB models are available for $459 and $559 respectively in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray.

    The new 9.7-inch iPad is now available to order on Apple's website in dozens of countries around the world. The first online orders are estimated for delivery between March 31 and April 5 in the United States.

    Apple said the new 9.7-inch iPad will be available to purchase at select Apple Stores, authorized resellers, and carrier stores starting next week in more than 20 countries, such as the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.


    Apple's special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models are also now available to order on Apple's website in 128GB and 256GB storage capacities for $749/$849 and $869/$969 respectively. Initial orders are slated for delivery on Tuesday, March 28 in the United States.

    (PRODUCT)RED iPhones have a vibrant red finish complemented by a silver Apple logo and white front bezels. Apple said the models are in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED), which gives customers a way to contribute to the Global Fund in support of HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.


    The special edition iPhone joins the current (PRODUCT)RED lineup, which is available to purchase year-round, including the full iPod line of products, Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker, the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, and a range of accessories for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

    (PRODUCT)RED iPhones are available starting today at many Apple Stores, authorized resellers, and carrier stores in the United States and dozens of other countries. Apple said the new models will begin shipping to customers by the end of March in the United States and more than 40 countries and regions.
    Apple yesterday announced the newest addition to its iPad lineup, somewhat confusingly called the "iPad" and known officially as the "5th-generation iPad," following in the footsteps of the fourth-generation model that was released before the iPad Air.

    Designed to replace the iPad Air, the iPad comes with a tantalizingly low price tag: $329. It is Apple's most affordable tablet to date and it's a competitive price point that will allow the iPad to better compete with lower-priced Android offerings.

    What do you get for $329? As it turns out, quite a lot. The iPad is a little bit iPhone 6s, a little bit iPad Air, and a little bit iPad Air 2.


    In a nutshell, compared to the iPad Air 2, the iPad has a brighter display and a faster A9 processor (first introduced in the iPhone 6s). Other internal hardware seems to be very similar to what's included in the iPad Air 2, with the exception of the display and the casing. Camera, battery life, Wi-Fi, LTE, and other sensors are all nearly the same.

    The iPad does not include a laminated display, and is thus thicker, much like the original iPad Air. It measures in at 7.5mm thick, compared to the 6.1mm iPad Air 2. The thickness and accompanying weight discrepancy is noticeable and the one downside between the new iPad and its predecessor.

    Compared to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the new iPad is, of course, significantly inferior, which is why it's priced at $329 and not $599. It does not support the Apple Pencil or the Smart Keyboard (no Smart Connector), and it lacks many of the display improvements, including True Tone color shifting and wide color gamut.

    The iPad has a slower processor than the iPad Pro, an inferior camera (8-megapixel vs. 12-megapixel rear and 1.2-megapixel vs. 5-megapixel front), two speakers instead of four, a slower LTE modem, and of course, since the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the same size as the iPad Air 2, the iPad is noticeably thicker and heavier.

    If you're looking for top of the line hardware and accessory support, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the tablet to buy, but if you don't need the bells and whistles, the iPad is a steal at its price point.

    Performance wise, it's going to run all the latest games and apps, it'll take decent pictures, it still has a high-quality Retina display, and it features a 10 hour battery life, so it will hold up for several years, especially when doing basic tasks like web browsing and emailing.



    Click for larger version

    For those looking for a bit more, Apple is rumored to be planning to introduce an updated ~10-inch iPad Pro model that's going to replace the existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The ~10-inch model is said to have smaller bezels and perhaps an edge-to-edge display, allowing it to feature a bigger screen in a 9.7-inch-sized body.

    That tablet was originally rumored to be coming in the spring, but now it's looking like we won't see it until later in the year. Based on rumors, it may be worth the wait for those willing to shell out more money for the best technology.

    Apple plans to start selling the new iPad on Friday, March 24. The entry-level 32GB Wi-Fi only model will be priced at $329, and a 128GB model is available for $429. Wi-Fi + Cellular models are available at a $130 premium, so $459 for 32GB and $559 for 128GB.

    For more details on Apple's new iPad, make sure to check out our official iPad roundup. And for details on the upcoming iPad Pro updates, check out our iPad Pro roundup.
    Apple today announced it is launching a new 9.7-inch iPad equipped with an A9 chip and a brighter Retina display to replace the iPad Air 2, which has been discontinued. The tablet, which Apple is simply calling "iPad," is Apple's new entry-level model at the 9.7-inch size, starting at $329 for 32GB and $429 for 128GB.


    The new 9.7-inch iPad is similar in many ways to the iPad Air 2, which had an A8X chip and started at $399, but slightly thicker and heavier with a faster A9 chip and a brighter Retina display. Another difference is that the new 9.7-inch iPad does not have a fully laminated display or anti-reflective coating per its tech specs.

    Beyond the A9 chip, those specs include a 9.7-inch screen with 2,048‑by‑1,536 resolution and 264 PPI, 8-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel front-facing FaceTime camera, two speakers, Lightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, Touch ID with Apple Pay, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.2.
    “iPad is the world’s most popular tablet. Customers love the large, 9.7-inch display for everything from watching TV and movies, to surfing the web, making FaceTime calls, and enjoying photos, and now it is even more affordable,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “New customers and anyone looking to upgrade will love this new iPad for use at home, in school, and for work, with its gorgeous Retina display, our powerful A9 chip, and access to the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for it.”
    Given its price point, the tablet lacks most iPad Pro features, including a True Tone display with a wide P3 color gamut, Smart Connector, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support, 4K HD video recording, LTE Advanced, Live Photos, True Tone flash, and four-speaker audio.

    The new 9.7-inch iPad is available to order beginning Friday, March 24 from Apple.com, and starts delivering to customers and arriving next week in Apple Stores, through select carriers, and at Apple Authorized Resellers in the United States and more than 20 countries and regions.

    Namely, the March 24 launch will also include Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Turkey, and other countries will follow in April. Brazil and Taiwan, among others, will follow in May.

    This low-cost 9.7-inch iPad was accurately rumored by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in August 2016.
    Apple has updated its System Status page to indicate that its online store will be "updated and unavailable" due to "maintenance" tomorrow, Tuesday, March 21, between 3:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.


    The timing of the downtime is notable given that Apple is rumored to launch new products as early as this week. Moreover, Apple commonly issues press releases at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, which is exactly when the so-called "maintenance" update is scheduled to be completed.

    Last week, a well-known research firm that requested confidentiality told us that, based on their own sources, it expects Apple to announce new products later this month, most likely during this week.

    The research firm did not say which products it expects Apple to announce, but rumors have widely suggested new iPad Pro models could be unveiled as early as this month, including updated 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models and an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, although the latter is less likely without an Apple event.

    At this point, it remains unclear if the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is even ready, so its introduction could be delayed until a future Spring event or WWDC 2017. However, a press release would be appropriate for the more iterative updates expected for the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models, along with any other smaller announcements.

    Given that it is already March 20, and that Apple usually invites the media to its launch events at least 10 days beforehand, an update to its online store accompanied by a press release is likely at this point if new products are imminent.

    Japanese blog Mac Otakara said Apple will host a March event to debut its new iPad Pro lineup, an iPhone SE with 128GB storage, new Apple Watch bands, and a red color option for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but an event this month is looking increasingly unlikely with only 11 days remaining in March.

    Apple recently redesigned its System Status page to provide more granular details about the statuses of its services, so there is no precedence for the page foreshadowing new product announcements this way. Accordingly, it is certainly possible that the downtime will indeed be related to maintenance and nothing else.

    (Thanks, Nathan!)
    Multiple new iPad models are being tested in Cupertino and the nearby Bay Area, potentially confirming rumors suggesting several refreshed iPads are launching in the near future.

    New iPad model identifiers have been spotted in device data collected by mobile marketing company Fiksu and were shared by TechCrunch this morning. Four identifiers have been popping up in data logs, but that doesn't necessarily correspond to four new devices as WiFi and WiFi + Cellular iPads historically have different model numbers. Fiksu believes the numbers correspond to between two and four new iPads.


    Below are the iPad identifiers that have been found along with their corresponding count, as provided by Fiksu. Only a small number of visits have been seen, which Fiksu says is "about the same number we see being tested about a month before release."

    - iPad 7,1 - 17
    - iPad 7,2 - 11
    - iPad 7,3 - 5
    - iPad 7,4 - 10

    These identifiers are similar to identifiers for existing iPad Pro models, which are as follows:

    - 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi) - iPad 6,7
    - 12.9 inch iPad Pro (Cellular) - iPad 6,8
    - 9.7-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi) - iPad 6,3
    - 9.7-inch iPad Pro (Cellular) - iPad 6,4

    At the very least, the presence of these identifiers suggests there are a minimum of two new iPad models in the works, in line with rumors suggesting Apple is working on both a revamped 10.5-inch iPad Pro that will effectively replace the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and a new 12.9-inch model.

    The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is said to feature a nearly bezel-free edge-to-edge display that allows Apple to fit a larger screen in the same 9.7-inch form factor, and it is said to include an A10X processor and Touch ID built directly into the display.

    Rumors sourced from reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have suggested there are supposed to be three new models on the horizon, including a 12.9-inch tablet, a lower-cost 9.7-inch tablet (priced as low as $299), and the flagship 10.5-inch tablet, while Japanese site Mac Otakara has claimed Apple could be working on four iPads, the three mentioned by Kuo along with a 7.9-inch iPad mini Pro model.

    Though Fiksu is seeing only four identifiers, it's possible additional iPads are in development but haven't been found in device logs as of yet.

    On the other hand, it potentially indicates we're going to get a new 10.5-inch model and a new 12.9-inch model, with no new iPad mini or refreshed lower-end 9.7-inch model. This scenario doesn't fit Mac Otakara's prediction, but should Apple lower the price of the existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro, it does fit in with what Kuo has predicted.

    Apple's new iPads could debut as soon as later this month, according to supply chain analysts who shared the information with MacRumors this morning. Apple may be planning an event or a release for late March, perhaps even as early as next week.

    Update: Fiksu has released an additional chart that displays the count of new iPad models in its data starting in September. The number of iPad Pro models have been steadily ramping up, leading Fiksu to predict an "imminent" release date within a month.

    Apple is expected to announce new products later this month, most likely between Monday, March 20 and Friday, March 24, according to reputable supply chain analysts we spoke to who wish to remain anonymous. The analysts said the information is from its own sources and not based on other reports.


    The research firm did not disclose which products it expects Apple to announce, but rumors have widely suggested at least a trio of new iPad Pro models will be unveiled as early as this month, including an all-new 10.5-inch model with slimmer bezels and updated 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions.

    The sources expecting an iPad refresh include, among others, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis, and Japanese blog Mac Otakara. The last of the three expects a new 7.9-inch model that would supplant the iPad mini 4, but other reports deny or fail to mention that particular claim.

    Last month, Mac Otakara said Apple will host a March event where it will debut its new iPad Pro lineup, a larger iPhone SE model with 128GB storage, and new Apple Watch bands. The report also claimed Apple will add a red color option for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which could be part of (PRODUCT)RED.

    Apple has yet to invite the media to an event this month, however, and those invites would be on shorter notice than usual if it is indeed planning to announce new products this way as early as next week.

    In each of the past two years, Apple invited the media to its March event roughly 11-12 days beforehand, including February 26 invites for a March 9 event in 2015 and March 10 invites for a March 21 event last year.

    There are three plausible scenarios if new products are in the cards: Apple is planning a March event, and invites will go out soon; Apple is planning a Spring event, but not this month; or Apple will share its announcements through a press release as it did when it dropped the price of the fourth-generation iPad to $399 in March 2014.

    A few reports have suggested the 10.5-inch iPad Pro could face shipping delays, so perhaps Apple will delay announcing it entirely.

    Apple has hosted March events four times in the past six years. In 2011 and 2012, it introduced new iPad models at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. In 2015, it revealed Apple Watch pricing and release date information. Last year, Apple debuted the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPhone SE at its Town Hall.

    One rumor suggested Apple could be planning an event on April 4, but this date was based on Personal Pickup for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which is generally not a reliable indicator of an event. The in-store pickup date for 12.9-inch iPad Pro models is a rolling target, as evidenced by the April 10 date now shown.

    The all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is expected to have slimmer bezels, and possibly no Home button, allowing it to have the same overall footprint as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. This design could foreshadow the rumored 5.8-inch iPhone. The tablet is also rumored to have a higher-resolution display and quad microphones.

    The updated 12.9-inch iPad Pro is said to feature a 12-megapixel rear camera and True Tone display like the current 9.7-inch model, using advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color and intensity of the display to match the light in the surrounding environment.
    While the iPhone 7 Plus helped Apple achieve record-breaking earnings results last quarter, iPad sales remained on a downward trend.


    Apple earlier this week reported that it sold 13.1 million iPads in the first quarter, which encompasses the holiday shopping season, down from 16.1 million in the year-ago quarter. As noted by Jason Snell at Six Colors, that's nearly half as many iPads as the 26 million that Apple sold during the same period in 2013.

    Apple isn't the only tablet maker suffering from declining sales. The overall category continued to shrink by between 9% and 20% worldwide compared to the same quarter a year ago, placing pressure on Samsung and other vendors, according to the latest estimates from research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics.


    Price remains a "key sticking point" for consumers looking to adopt high-end tablets such as the iPad Pro, which has created room for smaller vendors to capitalize on low-priced tablets, according to Strategy Analytics. Lenovo, for example, shipped an estimated 3.7 million tablets and grew 16% year-over-year in the quarter.

    "2-in-1 tablets are a hot market segment but price remains a key factor in consumer behaviors around PC and tablet replacement devices, which is evident in lower shipments of iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 devices in the quarter," said Eric Smith, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics.

    IDC said the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini, rather than the iPad Pro lineup, continued to account for the majority of Apple's tablet shipments. For every ten slate tablets shipped, Apple sold only one iPad Pro, the research firm said. Apple does not officially break out iPad sales on a model-by-model basis.

    Apple said it underestimated holiday demand for the iPad quarter, and that compounded a supply issue with one of its suppliers. Apple also drew down channel inventory by 700,000 units, so its results are not as bad as they look. Last year, Apple increased channel inventory by 900,000 units as the iPad Pro launched.

    Apple also said the iPad has an 85% share of the U.S. tablet market priced above $200, so the tablet is doing exceptionally well in the premium segment that the company has targeted. iPad also undoubtedly remains the world's best-selling tablet, with a comfortable lead over its rivals, based on industry estimates.

    Samsung was Apple's closest competitor with an estimated 8.1 million tablets shipped in the quarter for 12.8% market share, according to Strategy Analytics. Amazon, Lenovo, and Huawei rounded off the top five with an estimated 4.2 million, 3.7 million, and 3.4 million shipments in the quarter respectively.


    As always, it is important to acknowledge that these are estimated figures, and that shipments do not necessarily reflect sales. There are also significant discrepancies between the IDC and Strategy Analytics datasets—particularly as it relates to Amazon—so treat the numbers with a proverbial grain of salt.

    Apple has effectively marketed the iPad Pro as a computer in the post-PC world, but the company's second annual decline in iPad sales led Apple podcaster Marco Arment to raise an interesting question: what if the iPad isn't the future of computing?
    What if, like so much in technology, it’s mostly just additive, rather than largely replacing PCs and Macs, and furthermore had a cooling-fad effect as initial enthusiasm wore off and customers came to this conclusion?
    One thing is for certain: consumers are not upgrading their tablets nearly as often as smartphones. In order to reignite iPad sales, Apple will have to add compelling new features that entice the large base of existing iPad owners to swap out their current "good enough" tablet for a new one.

    "We've got some exciting things coming on iPad and I'm optimistic about where things are headed," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "Customer satisfaction is through the roof. iPad Pro at 99%. So I see a lot of good things and hope for better results."

    Update: Strategy Analytics notified us that it made an error in its chart. The original graphic transposed the names of the 3-5 ranked vendors incorrectly. The chart above has the correct rankings. This article has been updated accordingly where necessary based on the adjusted information.
    After teasing fans to "come see our latest creation" in the weeks leading up to one of its famous media events, seven years ago today former Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the first-generation iPad to the world. The iPad was announced as a larger-screen counterpart to the company's three-years-old iPhone, with Scott Forstall pointing out during the conference that the tablet could run "virtually every" iPhone app thanks to an on-screen button that users could press to scale the app's resolution up and down on a whim.

    The original iPad launched with a 9.7-inch 1024 x 768 resolution touch screen, in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities. The 1.5lb tablet included Apple's A4 chip and was priced at $499, $599, and $699 for Wi-Fi only models, and $629, $729, and $829 for Wi-Fi + 3G models in each respective capacity. The Wi-Fi version debuted on April 3, 2010, while users interested in Wi-Fi and 3G had to wait until April 30 for Apple's new tablet.

    original-ipad-1
    Steve Jobs on the iPad:
    “iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”
    After the event in 2010, initial reactions to the iPad were largely positive, with sites like Engadget calling it "blazingly fast" and remarking that the tablet had no lag when hopping around its various apps. The screen was thought to be "stunning" and the iPad's iBooks application impressed, thanks to its flipping page animations and library-inspired bookshelf space for eBooks that upheld Apple's then popular skeuomorphic iOS design.


    The original iPad's largest drawback centered on its substantial 1.5lb weight, as well as the lack of Flash in its operating system, no multitasking, and no camera. Seven years later, Apple has iterated on its original design and addressed most of these user complaints with each update to the iPad.

    The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs about the same as the original iPad at 1.57lbs, and still runs a larger version of iOS, but it's thinner (6.9mm vs 13mm) and is the "most capable and powerful" iPad yet, according to Apple, putting it on par with desktop-class machines.

    While the iPad saw strong early adoption, Apple has experienced sales declines in the past few years, with users replacing their iPads less frequently than iPhones. Most commonly, users update their iPhones every year or two, while finding their iPads remain serviceable for longer.

    In the company's annual earnings report last October focusing on the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016, iPad sales were down slightly to 9.3 million from 9.9 million in the same year-ago quarter. Although they were also infamously down in sales in 2016, Apple still sold 45.5 million iPhones in the same quarter, down from 48 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

    Steve Jobs
    New iPads are consistently part of the Apple rumor cycle, and 2017 has been no different, with current reports pointing towards the launch of three new iPad Pro models sometime during the calendar year. Apple is believed to put out a new 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad, but the exact screen size of a mysterious middle size model has been up for debate, including 10.1, 10.5, and 10.9-inches.

    When it launches, the new 10-inch model may look very different from the 2010 iPad, reportedly doing away with the iconic Home Button, further reducing the size of the tablet's bezels with an edge-to-edge display, and include the usual iterative bumps to camera resolution and speed. One of the ports that the 2017 iPad is rumored to keep intact from its seven-year-old progenitor is the 3.5mm headphone jack, which the iPhone 7 ditched last year.

    The full press conference covering Steve Jobs' introduction of the iPad can be viewed on YouTube here.