Sales of Apple’s iPads have begun to decline, with double digit drops in unit sales year over year. Interest in the devices as judged by Google searches has noticeably dropped (red line). If the historical record for the iPod (blue line) is any guide, iPads may be about to enter a long term decline. This week, in fact, iPod devices were quietly relegated to the accessory shelves in the back of Apple stores, a sign that they aren’t worth the cost of prime table space any more. Their complete disappearance may not be far off. Will iPads follow a similar drop in sales, possibly in the context of tablets becoming a commodity item? Will a touch screen come to the Macbook lineup?
In contrast to iPads, iPhone unit sales and interest (yellow line) remain high. For many people around the globe, an iPhone (or other smart phone) has become their only computing device. In fact, both iPhone (+35%) and Mac computer (+8%) sales are up while iPads are down about 20% year over year for the last three quarters. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ can handle a lot of computing, gaming and media consumption, and you still need a real laptop for serious content generation — leading one to wonder what is the future role of the iPad in the Apple ecosystem?
Meanwhile, Apple’s watch has only just launched (green line) and has a long way to go before it generates significant revenue.