Written by Nick Heer.

The iPad’s Comeback Tour

Dr. Drang points to two key figures in Apple’s latest earnings, with regard to the iPad: its 15% increase in unit sales, and its 2% growth in revenue,1 both compared to last year’s third quarter:

A real, live, honest-to-goodness, actual rise of 15% in year-over-year unit sales led to an upturn in the four-quarter moving average, the first since the end of 2013. No one needs to root for Apple to make more money, but this is the kind of news that might encourage developers to support the iPad and make it a better product for all of us.

More new iPads being sold combined with this autumn’s iOS update — which, unlike last year, actually has features for the iPad — should mean a healthier ecosystem. But the 2% revenue growth implies that the vast majority of growth in the iPads sold this quarter occurred because of the new entry-level model, which doesn’t have the power, features, or price of the recently-updated Pro models. Drang says that this might indicate that developers of higher-end apps might not find this price-conscious shopping very encouraging, but I think there might be a longer-term halo effect created by the entry-level model. It doesn’t have the performance or features of the Pro models, but I think its refinement together with the features in iOS 11 might drive people to exploring higher-end options.

  1. For comparison (PDF), the iPhone grew 2% in units but 3% in revenue compared to this time last year, and the Mac grew just 1% in units, but 7% in revenue. ↩︎