The tablet PC market grew rapidly in the following years – but a certain saturation quickly set in. The iPad is still a very important source of revenue for Apple – but the normal laptop did not replace the tablet in most cases. The classic desktop and notebook market continues to exist alongside the market for tablets, where Apple is the most successful provider with a market share of between 30 and 50 percent (depending on the statistics, Apple no longer publishes direct sales figures). Some other manufacturers who jumped on the bandwagon during the tablet boom phase are either neglecting their own offerings or have left the market – so Apple controls most of this market.
Apple positions the iPad and especially the iPad Pro as a device for “content creators” – in many commercials Apple shows artists, photographers, authors and other creative people working on the iPad. Apple also recognized at the end of 2019 that the iPad is mainly limited by the software and, with iPadOS, decoupled the system software from the mobile phone operating system iOS.
It should not be neglected that the iPad has some advantages compared to the normal laptop: Thanks to the A-Chips, the battery life is usually many times longer than that of notebooks and the devices are still thin, light and handy. Furthermore, iPadOS is usually easier to use for inexperienced users than a “complete” operating system including windows and file management. In addition, the iPad offers control options via a touch screen and Apple Pencil. Also not (yet) available on the Mac: A direct cellular connection via SIM card.
Pressure from two sides
But as previously written, the world was different ten years ago – today the iPad faces competition from two types of device. The smartphone displays have become steadily larger and are now also suitable for some productive activities that were not yet possible with a 3.5 “display. Furthermore, smartphones are now also significantly more powerful. On the other hand, light, thin laptops lurk Bring a complete operating system and are often as portable as an iPad.
Competition from within our own ranks
Until a few days ago, the battery life of so-called ultrabooks did not reach that of the iPads: the A-chips of the iPads were simply too efficient. At the “One More Thing” event, Apple presented the new MacBook Air with an M1 processor – and now enables a similarly long battery life and higher performance than the A-chips on the iPads.
The dear money
A normal iPad without a name is available from 369 euros – but with a tight 32 GB memory. If it is an iPad Pro, the prices for the iPad Pro 11 “start at 856 euros with 128 GB of storage or at 1,071 euros for the iPad Pro 12.9” with 128 GB. A MacBook Air in the basic configuration with 256 GB SSD is available from Apple for 1,100 euros.
Of course, the MacBook Air cannot keep up with the cheapest iPad in terms of price – but with the 4th generation iPad Air or an iPad Pro, the MacBook Air is within reach in terms of price. By switching to its own processors, Apple is taking away some of the unique selling points of the iPad: The MacBook Air can also last a whole working day without a power supply and can now run iPhone or iPad apps alongside full macOS programs.
In a few years it will show whether and to what extent the significant upgrading of the mobile entry-level Macs can further cannibalize the iPad line. In any case, it is interesting that Apple apparently does not shy away from competition from its own company and does not differentiate the new M1 Macs from the iPads by means of the price, despite significantly improved performance values. Customers who are hesitating between a mobile Mac and an iPad Pro should now make the decision even more difficult.