While the Majority of iPhone Users own an iPad, the Trend Indicates that Owners Need a Valid Reason to Upgrade
According to the latest data from Kantar, 40% of all smartphones in use in the US are from Apple. Nationally, smartphone penetration has reached 62%. Among all of the people who own smartphones, 58% also own a tablet - and among iPhone owners, 65% have a tablet with the majority of them owning an iPad. The report interestingly notes that the latest iPad Air 2 isn't faring well at all with only 4% of iPhone users adopting this model which was all about "thinner" – an ongoing Apple theme that most now find repetitively boring.
As consumers engage more with their smartphones and tighten their loyalty to the ecosystem, it is natural that they stay with what they know when considering a tablet purchase. The reported noted that 69% of iPhone owners who own a tablet have an iPad. Of iPads currently in use the breakdown is as follows: 28% own an iPad 2; 16% own an iPad 3; 14% own an iPad Mini; 12% own an iPad Air; 8% own an iPad 4 with retina display; and 4% own an iPad Air 2.
Replacement cycles have been blamed for the slowdown in iPad sales over the past year, and considering that 12% of the installed base is still made up of first-generation iPad users, it is easy to see why that is the case.
Some observers are concerned that tablet replacement cycles are becoming more similar to PC replacement cycles than to smartphones, since 30% of current iPad owners have had their device for longer than 36 months.
This is coupled with the risk that smartwatches and bigger phones will absorb a larger share of consumer disposable income and result in a trend similar to the PC market, where upgrade cycles have been further extended.
Interestingly it appears that the advances Apple has made in iOS 9 with multitasking, split screens, and a keyboard that doubles as a touchpad, are helping consumers view the iPad more like a PC.
Early adopters were drawn to tablets because they were different from PCs. But, we are now at a point where bringing mainstream and late adopters on board requires more similarities to the PC, while remaining true to what tablets were originally designed to do.
The data is clearly starting to support the trend toward hybrid notebook-tablets devices. While Apple was well ahead of the curve on this trend with a 2013 patent application dating back to 2011, Apple's Tim Cook downplayed hybrids as confused devices. The trend is still somewhat alive however with the consistent rumor of an iPad Pro model in the works that would be more notebook friendly in design. Could such a hybrid design help to stop Apple's iPad sales from its continual free-fall? Only time will tell.