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back to article Tim Cook: I'm NOT worried about CRAP iPad sales. It's just a 'speedbump'

Tim Cook has claimed the slowdown in fondleslab sales is not a sign of Apple's imminent demise, but merely a "speedbump" along the path to tablet world domination. Both Apple and arch-rival Samsung have been experiencing poor tablet sales, with partners of the South Korean firm sitting on some 300,000 units that no one wants to …

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Trollface

performance hike?

There really is little point upgrading from, say, an iPad 3 to an Air, because apart from a fairly hefty performance hike, they pretty much do all the same things.

Except, perhaps, if your reason for upgrading is that you want a fairly hefty performance hike?

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Re: performance hike?

Performance per Kg? they are much lighter now!

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Re: performance hike?

Like what? Even fairly demanding games don't see a great leap in performance from what I've seen. You're not likely to be doing much video encoding or software compiling on an iPad, so what else do they do that absolutely demands that additional performance?

It's not a bad thing for consumers that tablets have reached maturity. It means the tablet I buy today won't seem unusable two years down the line. It's just bad for the companies that make them. Like all those PC sales that don't happen any more because Core 2 Duo machines are still perfectly capable for the majority of people that use them.

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Re: performance hike?

Javascript to start with. On the Air you're still running Jacascript on web pages at about 1/2 the speed of a desktop machine, and it's over double the speed of the iPad 3.

Then there's the shift to LTE radios if you have the cellular version. Definitely a worthwhile speed bump, but like the iPhone I suspect users are moving to a 24 month or longer refresh cycle.

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WTF?

Re: performance hike?

Except, perhaps, if your reason for upgrading is that you want a fairly hefty performance hike?

If you're buying an iPad for "performance" you're doing it wrong.

Unless your idea of performance is posing in a Starbucks...

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Re: performance hike?

What, for Cat videos?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: performance hike?

Never mind the cats, its the chicken and egg. Fact is plenty of interesting ways to take advantage of higher performance if you target apps at new models, especially camera related imaging etc. A lot isn't done because of the desire to support old iPads - nobody cares about iPad 1 but still a lot of iPad 2s out there.

I've some PC code still too slow on iPad Air should be viable on the Air 2 but probably won't bother porting for a year or so.

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Re: performance hike?

Actually the performance hike for most people doesn't bring much. The vast majority of people that I know who are using tablets are basically using them as email and web appliances. Gamers don't get much as it would appear that the games developers would prefer to up the pretty pretty rather than increase frame rate (storm raiders on iPad 2 and iPad Air show about the same framerate with the same glitching, but the graphics on the iPad Air are prettier)

There are cases where the raw compute performance does give a significant advantage, such as in my case the ability to have a few virtual synth/drum machine apps running all controlled by a sequencer app and then piping all that into the Cubasis app - my poor old ipad 2 almost choked to death when trying that. But for most people these cases are few and far between.

If, for most people, a 2 generation old iPad is still doing the things that's required at the speed that's required, then why buy a new one? And that is the reason why tablet sales are flat.

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Coat

Re: performance hike?

Is that like HP / Ton? The higher the clock rate and the lower the weight of the tablet, the faster it runs?

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Re: performance hike?

I'd appreciate it if they'd put more RAM in so web tabs don't keep reloading but other than that the only reason I'd buy one is because the current one is an iPad 2 from years ago and getting long in the tooth (as well as heavy by comparison). Guess they hoped people would keep on the merry-go-round but, like the TV sellers, they're finding that just isn't the case.

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Other applications they can be used for

They seem to wedge the door open nicely in my office

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Apple are so psychotic on pricing to the point imho, they would sooner scrap overproduced tablets than discount them.

And could someone explain the 32-128GB pricing strata?

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Fairy dust doesn't come cheap you know.

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Flash pricing

Back when flash was expensive and Apple got a great deal by prepaying for a year's worth of supply, their pricing wasn't at all out of line. As flash has become cheaper, they haven't altered those $100 bumps, even though they've adjusted the amount of flash in each tier every couple years, because people are still paying it.

If they were losing sales to Android because people were saying "I need 64GB and Apple charges too much" they'd alter it, but they lose a lot more sales because people are saying "I want a bigger phone and Apple doesn't have it" so that's what they're addressing.

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They don't scrap them straight away - they just go into the service channel for the next 5 years. It's only after that they're scrapped.

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Anonymous Coward

In its way, a good sign

i.e. that tablets from the likes of Apple and Samsung are sufficiently well made that consumers don't have the lemming-like urge that they used to have to replace their PC whenever it got slow.

Looks like the replacement patterns are more like those of Macs, i.e. 6-8 years of useful service life.

I do wonder whether Android tablets slow down, PC-like, as the level of user cruft goes up. Perhaps the absence of spinning disks makes that slowdown less painful.

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Re: In its way, a good sign

My 2012 Nexus 7 has slowed down in it's old age, but it's been reinstalled a few times (I like mucking around with Cyanogen etc.). From what I gather, the original flash chips were a bit poo. Still, that's what you get for a very discount tablet, I guess.

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Re: In its way, a good sign

"I do wonder whether Android tablets slow down, PC-like, as the level of user cruft goes up. Perhaps the absence of spinning disks makes that slowdown less painful."

Or it could be that Android has a more efficient design and does not suffer from this problem, unlike another well known OS.

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Re: In its way, a good sign

Android's sandbox ensures that when you remove an app, no cruft is leftover, the sandbox is deleted.

Windows doesn't of course do this, and iOS doesn't do it as well as Google does.

That's why my Android tablet still performs as well as the day it was purchased. Android releases also seem to improve performance and reduce memory (like the move from Davlik to ART). iOS releases just bog down older devices. This is the grave that Apple dug for themselves when they called out Google on OS versions for older devices. You live by the sword, you die by the sword as they say....

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Re: In its way, a good sign

"Android's sandbox ensures that when you remove an app, no cruft is leftover, the sandbox is deleted.

Windows doesn't of course do this, and iOS doesn't do it as well as Google does."

Windows 8 does use sandboxing.

Windows Phone also uses it, everything is nuked on an uninstall.

Running apps have serious trouble causing issues in any case.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In its way, a good sign

I never mentioned Windows Phone, as clearly nobody cares about it, let alone uses it...

Now go back to your Reading/Redmond desk....

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Re: In its way, a good sign

6 - 8 year replacement cycle on Macs? Apple stopped supporting mine after 5... On the other hand, my 8 year old PC is still getting updates.

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Re: In its way, a good sign

Android suffered from slowdown until 4.3 brought TRIM support.

My Galaxy S3 went from instant switching between the home screen and mail to over 10 seconds to switch! A wipe and reinstall after 4.3 was made available solved the problem, it hasn't slowed down again.

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Re: In its way, a good sign

Apple stop making parts after 5 years. You can still get them in some 3rd party shops. My Late 2008 MBP is still working, even if it does feel slow compared to an Air. I'll only ever replace my MBP when it goes seriously tits up. My iPhone 4 won't be able to run iOS 8, but I'm not replacing it until the iPad 3 is left behind too.

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Re: In its way, a good sign

My iMac is still working, but it is stuck on Snow Leopard, with no security updates...

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Re: In its way, a good sign

My trusty old G5 Mac Pro gargantuan cheesegrater runs CS4 like a champ. God knows when I bought it... That thing is ancient. I'll replace it when/if the coolant leaks.

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I'm seeing longer upgrade cycles as well now

Still running an original 2012 Nexus7, a FireHD8.9, and a newer FireHDX. I retired my original Fire as it was definitely too slow, but it was an earlier design. The Nex7 will get replaced soon not for performance, but because its my Dev and test tablet, and I need to move on to something current.

Most of the recent tablets do just fine for light usage on the go and the sofa and reading. If I go for heavy usage I switch to the laptop or desktop. I'm thinking other folks probably do the same?

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Anonymous Coward

It is called "market saturation"

Whenever every one that wants one and can purchase one has already done so. Happens with everything, from cars to pens. If you want to sell more of the thing, you have to either make it cheaper so that the range of people meeting the second condition (can purchase one) expands OR make it do something different so that the range of people meeting the first condition (wants one) expands.

The notion that infinite growth is impossible needs to be added urgently to business schools, or perhaps it is enough to use some plain old common sense. It is simply crazy to think that Apple or Samsung can keep selling essentially the same product at the same price forever. It just does not work that way.

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Re: It is called "market saturation"

Very true... but 13.2 million iPads is still an awful lot of iPads sold. Even if it's 1 million less than last year. Not many products see generation to generation sales that are consistent of that magnitude within electronics industry. Apple have created and sustained their own market hype and expandability by going from electronic geeks to the every day person gradually since the original launch. There are always new customers if you're ever finding new ways to encourage them to buy your product.

I've got bored of upgrading my iPad every year though. My original iPad Mini does me fine.

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Re: It is called "market saturation"

Of course they can and are... It's called a 13 month lifespan, kinda like the Nexus 6 in Bladerunner: Built as well as they could be, just not to last ;-)

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Yeah, mostly market saturation - everyone who can be convinced to take the plunge has already done so.

I really haven't felt the slightest urge to upgrade my ipads. My "launch day" ipad is still working fine (it's my main book reader), but it is a little annoying that it can't run newer apps. But even the one I bought for the folks a year later is running IOS7 well too, and they have no speed complaints (their only complaint is that they don't have two of them, they love their ipad).

Also, the ipads currently for sale are nearing the end of their lifecycle - better to wait for the next refresh if you're just now thinking of buying one.

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I thought the same as you, slightly annoyed new apps won't install, old apps might misbehave, but I did "fork out" for an upgrade; when I changed my phone contract from a iphone subsidy one to a cheapo contract (£42pcm -> £15pcm). Three offered me an ipad air for £30 upfront, £25 pcm, with 15GB/month data contract, so basically what I was paying beforehand.

Perhaps it would be cheaper over the long run to get a wifi ipad air directly from Apple, but that plays down the value of the mobile contract - 4G, GPS, plentiful data, free data roaming..

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It's all a matter of perspective

A speed bump and a brick wall can look much the same from a distance

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Re: It's all a matter of perspective

From a distance...you would not see the speed bump..

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Re: It's all a matter of perspective

I think he meant: "from a great height..."

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The single FAIL point for most business plans...

...is how they expect us to buy their New Shiny Thing (or "upgrade" software) just because they made it. Auto makers did this for years, expecting us to trade in and buy new forever.

For most people, if it's working for them, they won't replace it, whatever it is. Amazes me that business types so ardently ignore this fact.

Also, notice what rotten cars they made during the Planned Obsolescence years? Might this apply to tablets and such? After all, if you're expected to replace it in two years, why bother making it rock-solid good? Just sayin'...

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No worries

Once Apple convinces all their customers to also buy an iPad for their wrist, sales will double!

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Re: No worries

Both wrists = triple sales

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Re: No worries

Don't forget the neckband-mounted wearables!! (colloquially known as the iSlave collar)

Quadruple sales!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Couple of tips Tim

1. £240 for 96Gb more storage may have added up a few years ago but things have changed. Check your BoM spreadsheet and you'll find you can reduce retail price substantially while keeping a more than healthy margin.

2. I can buy a smartphone for less than the £100 you are charging for cellular. Again, check your spreadsheet and adjust pricing for next model launch.

These anomalies really annoy some potential customers, its not just the money its the perception you think we are too stupid to notice a total ripoff.

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WTF?

Re: Couple of tips Tim

"... its not just the money its the perception you think we are too stupid to notice a total ripoff."

Well...apparently...many people are "too stupid to notice"...because they keep buying every time some new iThingy is released.

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Stop

Re: Couple of tips Tim

2. I can buy a smartphone for less than the £100 you are charging for cellular. Again, check your spreadsheet and adjust pricing for next model launch.

Not one with decent, multi-region LTE radios you can't.

Manufacturers charge what customers are prepared to pay, not what it costs them plus a bit. Look at what Ford charge for a GPS upgrade to their models for example.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Couple of tips Tim

There's nothing at all stopping you from buying any smartphone you like; if you want an Apple product you just have to pay a bit extra for it. Its almost like you would whine at Rolls Royce for offering a car at $200,000 simply because you don't want to pay more than $20,000.

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just some market constipation

The market flows like a good take away. Sometimes it's backed up like my shower drain, and sometimes it's like after eating a vindaloo. Knowing how to make money off of these fluctuations is the key, and if you influence enough markets, game over.

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Anonymous Coward

A little look back

Netbooks were hot, they didn't run Windows.

MS leaned on Netbook makers to include Windows, netbook sales plummeted.

Apple then made tablets hot, sales skyrocket, Google joined in and everybody makes tablets, sales go up faster.

MS can't pressure Apple, so it leans on PC makers to make tablets with Windows, most make a token effort, then go back to Android.

MS makes its own tablets, pushes them hard, all tablet sales go into decline.

Somewhere, in the back of my mind, a correlation is sensed.

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SVV

We couldn't be happier with how we've done...

I bet you could.

For instance if you'd sold twice as many you would almost certainly be happier. Ad infinitum for higher multiples of sales. But for tv, radio, and the other sundry useful little apps, toys and fun stuff I mostly use my tablet for, the replacement point will probably be either when it dies or when something amazingly better comes out. And that should not be taken as a suggestion to make your devices conk out quicker than they currently do by the way.

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I upgraded from a 3 to an Air and it was wonderful! Smaller, lighter, faster, more capacity and the new connector too. It was definitely a win win for me. I love my Air. (I didn't see the point to go from a 3 to a 4 though.) I gave my 3 to my musician son who is making very good use of it, even if most of his stuff gives me a headache.

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Meh

Flash, saviour of Apple's profit

I first had a 16GB iPad2, but ran out of space. So last year I flogged that and acquired a 128GB Air. For my sainity (and bank balance) I obtained it from USofA so it was a rip-off rather then extortion. It does annoy me how much Apple charge us consumers for flash, when they're paying pennies. Anyway I don't intend on buying a new slab for a while, as I still have a suitable amount of space. I wouldn't mind a 128GB iPhone 6, but I'm not sure Apple will oblige.

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