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back to article Larger iPad could target big biz, save Apple from low-end scrum

As has been increasingly the case with smartphones, the tablet market is shifting away from an Apple/Samsung head-to-head, and becoming a free-for-all. While the two major suppliers still lead the sector, their sales declined in the second quarter, even though overall shipments were up. Apple may look to address the challenge in …

"[Microsoft] may drop the attempt to create a unified experience across both architectures."

We can only hope!

If Windows 9 undoes some of the horrible UI mistakes MS has made I, will go out and buy it to replace Win 8 on my wife's laptop. I might even be tempted to put it on my own machine.

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Windows

I'm interested to see how this plays out. Windows 8 has been pretty much banned in our organization. Windows 7 won't be supported forever..

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'Apple intends to counter the recent slowdown in iPad sales by releasing a 12.9-inch model early next year and an updated 9.7-inch model and a new iPad mini'

But the likes of Samsung are already throwing affordable devices into this sector with the TabPRO and Tab S 8.4, 10.1 and 12.2 sporting expandable memory, octa core cpu's and higher resolution screens than Apples current range all round.

Apple are gonna be relying once again on the deep pocketed 'faithful' to stop the slide, but that may not be any help in avoiding a scrum further up the model range.

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Pint

Samsung caught my attention with the 12.9" Notes. On the small end (7") my bases are covered, even having specialization of the several here. It's that mid-range where I'm seeing a unfilled niche. I do have something "better", a 20" touch-screen that is comfortable in my lap but being corded it's a pain to move around with. Either gotta cut the cord or... something.

Now what I'd really like is a 14" Note; I really miss my clipboards. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. Make it enterprisey and it could be a nice hit for Apple+IBM. Over the yardarm somewhere so....

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If anyone wanted a giant iPad

There would be sales of giant android tablets (much like the smaller androids were selling well before the ipad mini was released) but I've never seen one outside of a showcase.

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Make a screen robust enough to be A4 (or preferably the old Cheeky/2000AD/Star Lord page) size and that's a sale. Not expecting super toughness for rambling while geo-caching, will treat it like paper media - easily trashable. Just want the a paper page size experience on a screen.

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Apple can only sell so much before they have to start dipping into their cash reserves. Even the 37 billion cash they have in the bank won't last forever.

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Huh?

Apple had a net profit of $7.7 billion and total cash from operations of $10.3 billion in its most recent quarter - which is typically Apple's slowest quarter! They are far from needing to "dip into their cash reserve", they're still adding to it despite increasing their dividends and stock buybacks!

In the previous quarter they reported $158 billion in cash, I didn't see an update figure for their most recent quarter but it is safe to say they're now in excess of $160 billion.

I'm not sure what planet you're from that you think Apple may soon have to dip into their cash reserve...

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Anonymous Coward

@NoneSuch

"Apple can only sell so much before they have to start dipping into their cash reserves. Even the 37 billion cash they have in the bank won't last forever."

Are you attempting to assert that Apple is making a loss on device sales?

I somehow doubt that this is the case, on any device that they manufacture.

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Doomed!

Apple is doomed if it doesn't follow the advice of the analysts! Phablet, massive iPad, TV set ... now! Cmon Apple - you're almost on the ropes after not releasing a netbook!

Or, perhaps the analysts are full of crap ...

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SVV

Oh to be an "industry analyst"

"It does appear, from most sources, that Microsoft will not abandon ARM, but that it may drop the attempt to create a unified experience across both architectures."

So big fail, didn't work, oh look Apple have OSX for desktop and iOS for phones and tablets, let's do the same. Wonder how many meetings of highly paid executives it took for that insight to develop?

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Re: Oh to be an "industry analyst"

Well, Windows 9 may separate the user experiences, but it will still remain possible to deploy the same code project to desktop (now probably running within a window), tablet, and mobile. That, and the prevalence of Windows in the corporate back office applications these tablets will connect to, is the major challenge to Apple.

Being able to provide access to the same apps on existing hardware as well as tablets is very appealing, and can reduce the cost of internal projects dramatically. Consider a logistics operation where floor staff use tablets, but occasionally an office based employee needs access to the very same app... using iPads means writing two apps, one for iOS and another for Windows, or giving desk staff expensive tablets that they don't need most of the time.

And the corporate market won't be the saviour of Apple's margins.. Windows tablets are a fraction of the cost of iPads, and on smaller screen sizes are close to Android's pricing. Android has the same integration challenges as iOS, but it has a huge price advantage, and the use of the Java language for app development: there are still lots of Java code monkeys out there in the corporate world. Apple may find themselves in a pincer.

Getting back to Windows 8, though, I think Microsoft's mistake was in trying to force the same shell onto different device types; but the idea of using the same runtime for both touch and mouse apps is a sound one. Apple, on the other hand made some very short term decisions with iOS, which may eventually doom their desktop OS. I use a Mac, and the platform is just as starved of applicatin software as it's always been.. what interest there is in Apple is all on iOS, but the lack of a common API dissuades developers from considering doing a desktop version of their successful iPad apps, even where touch isn't a factor in the UI.

I'm using a Surface 2 RT to type this, and I think it's a great OS and a superb bit of kit for casual web browsing and watching videos, but the windows VM on my Mac is still running Windows 7... Windows 8.1 certainly more efficient than 7, but if you don't have a touchscreen, it's not a compelling upgrade.

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Re: Oh to be an "industry analyst"

"I use a Mac, and the platform is just as starved of applicatin software as it's always been..[.]"

What does that mean? I mean, realistically?

Typical office applications? Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook are all present. The glaring omission is Access, but then is it's not a 'killer' app. 4D and FileMake are still doing the business on that front. There are also Google tools that are cross platform. Both have tablet versions.

Specialist software? on the Project management front, Prima Vera and MS Project now have web based versions that actually make more sense than the desktop versions. Omni Project is a good drop in replacement on the Mac and the iPad. Analyst have access to SPSS. Graphics is and always has been well supported. Adobe is still on the Mac and their iOS tools are excellent, working happily together. More and better choice in video post production on both their platforms. CAD is well supported too. Autodesk is making great strides with AutoCAD and VectorWorks is getting better with every release. BIM is also well supported. Rumours of Revit on the platform refuse to go away, with Autodesk so far only supporting BIMGlue on iOS. ArchiCAD is a worthy competitor to Revit and their iOS tops are excellent. AEC is extremely well served on the Mac. PLM on the other hand isn't. Never has been.

The back office is moving to the cloud quickly. I don't think that Microsoft's contrail is as pervasive as you seem to think it is going to be.

There are many other areas where the Mac is extremely well served. That is also Unix is a massive boost too. There may not be the choice, but then the quality is generally much higher.

The long and the short of it is that the 'choice' canard that Microsoft expertly marketed still pervades today. It is ultimately meaningless.

By the way, with Swift, and actually even before Swift, iOS and Mac desktop apps can share code bases.

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Talking about Apple and Samsung "falling behind" on specs

So if someone offers more resolution than what is already a very high resolution, or a bigger screen than what is already a very big screen, Apple and Samsung are falling behind? If a Chinese company introduced a tablet with a "type cover" that has a numeric keypad, he'd probably say Microsoft is falling behind!

I'm still not convinced Apple is going to make a larger iPad, and that the screen isn't for a new iPad Air. Maybe the business world is looking for larger tablets, but I don't really see the need. Once you're that big, you might as well just get a laptop - the addition of the keyboard half of the clamshell adds only a small percentage to the weight.

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Windows 9

I went over to Apple devices (iPad Air, iPhone 5s and mac Mini) when I couldn't find any compelling Windows devices when ti was time to upgrade my aging laptop, but with the Surface Pro 3 looking like something I, and it would seem quite a few others, could actually use, and the prospect of a Windows that could be a worthy successor to the excellent Windows 7, I may be tempted to go back.

I really think there is too much rumour-mongering going on, especially where Apple is concerned, and you just know all this speculation is going to go out of the window on launch day when the lineup is that bit different to what all these overpaid analysts have been saying.

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Mushroom

Re: Windows 9

> I went over to Apple devices (iPad Air, iPhone 5s and mac Mini) when I couldn't find any compelling Windows devices

If you couldn't find something more compelling than a Mac Mini they you clearly were not looking.

Even an honest Apple fanboy could find something in the Windows "ecosystem" more compelling than a Mini.

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Larger Screen iPad means nothing to the visually impaired

It is all well and good to release a larger screen for the iPad, but what eventually happens too is that the resolution gets raised to match that larger screen, so the print stays just as tiny.

I bought an iPad Air despite being an absolute Apple product hater. I am legally blind and my Samsung 8" device wasn't cutting it for me. (End of that story is that reading glasses did the trick) So I wanted to get a larger screened tablet to compensate for screen size and thus text size. However, I have a huge gripe with Samsung devices as they come preloaded with so much garbage and TouchWiz is so bloated that it feels like I only get HALF of a tablet in storage capacity than what I was told I was buying. Research showed that Apple devices tended to be the leanest as far as an OS install base.

So, after examining as many 'Droid options as I could find available locally, I bit the bullet and started investigating the iPad. A coworker showed me his, and we even found an eReader app that would suit my purposes. So off I went and bought one. (And returned it less than 22 hours later!)

The resolution is so high that everything on the screen is microscopic to read! I went into the settings and turned on as much accessibility assistance as I could that would bold the text, increase contrast, increase TEXT size for that matter! And yet, to my utter disgust and dismay, these text increases barely applied anywhere in any app! And that even included the App Store app! Apple's attention to accessibility for the visually impaired is appalling at best. Yes, there are options like Voice Over and so on, but I don't want my tablet talking to me in a quiet room full of people to tell me what I'm looking at. I need to just be able to SEE it. And yes, there is the triple tap option to enable, but I do not want to have to do a minimum of SIX taps just to be able to see what I want to do next, nor do I want to have a device that requires me to have tunnel vision to operate.

Exchanged that tablet for a Microsoft based one, and the experience was exactly the same in the Modern UI side of things. That one only lasted about 20 hours in my possession.

Meanwhile, Android's text setting takes effect everywhere! Why? Because right from the start, Google's recommendations are to not use absolute font sizes, but to rather build out in percentages so that it scales well.

I know this may sound like such a ridiculous gripe to have about this massively successful product. But despite all of that, if I can't see what is on screen without needing a bloody microscope, then your product, for all of its features, "amazingly innovative design", and app availability blah blah blah....is an utter failure to me as your customer. Now iOS 8 is coming out, and I'm willing to bet there are no improvements there for screen readability.

Anyway....that's my rant. Still an Apple product hater.... The universe is back to normal now that my house has no iThings in it.

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When the market moves, you have to move with it

Most Apple fans will repeat the same mantra: do not compete on price, stay in the high price, high margin segments. The problem is that the market is evolving so that that niche is shrinking. Apple's problem has been years in the making, but it is becoming clearer and clearer, and it the exact same problem they faced with computers in the last century. Its the same problem the British motorcycle industry had when Honda and Suzuki showed up with their ridiculous little 50cc mopeds.

Of course you cannot compete on price at that sort of level. What you can do is carry on making Bonnevilles, give up the low end segment which is just commodities, and you will be fine. Pretty soon they are offering not 50cc mopeds but 250cc fast two strokes, and then 500cc twins that are reliable and last for ever.

Not too long after that you are a specialist niche selling a few hundred a year to nostalgic enthusiasts and asking for government handouts.

This is what all the Apple mavens who decry the race to the bottom and commoditisation and want Apple to stay out of that do not see. We are seeing the PC market and the triumph of Windows all over again, in phones and tablets. The market is moving to one in which their culture will not allow them to compete. So they will either come up with a new market segment, which is going to be very tough, or they will shrink, possibly dramatically, to the accompaniment of inventory write downs never previously seen in history.

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Re: When the market moves, you have to move with it

"Most Apple fans will repeat the same mantra"...

Most of the people like you have been predicting Apple's second demise since Jobs' return and death. You are still wrong.

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While it's possible that a 12.9" screened iPad might sell, if the price point comes too close to the Surface 3, then Apple could find itself not as the chosen one in the large screen Tablet market. Bean counters in Enterprise firms will be asking why they need to authorize purchases for 12.9" screen sized iPads when the iPad Air and Mini do the same thing at lower price points and are more portable. I can see top executives getting the largest screened iPads while others lower on the chain receive the iPad Air and iPad Mini, but Executives are fewer in number than middle managers. As for Microsoft and WRT, that failed twice already. I can't see a reason for them to try and fail at it again. Clearly, few are interested in WRT. Surface Pro needs to come down in price to gain any real momentum.

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Abandonment issues

What with the way Windows Phone 7 was abandoned, and with a major Windows on the way, it might be best to avoid getting committed to any new Microsoft based hardware this holiday season. No way to tell if the relationship is reciprocal or desirable.

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Pint

Re: Abandonment issues

"...getting committed to any new Microsoft based hardware..."

Huh? "Getting committec" to hardware? Or even an OS ecosystem? "Committed"? Seriously? You shouldn't even be using such vocabulary in this context. Not in public anyway. I think it's okay to like or prefer one product over another, even to hate a poorly designed product such as Win 8, but to "commit" oneself to hardware (or an OS) is way too close to that lunatic that legally married his dining room table.

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Anonymous Coward

Oooooooooh!

Want one!

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Chrome crap

I'm still really miffed as to why someone would buy a chromebook. Whilst WiFi is starting to border on the ubiquitous, it's not entirely there.

Why would you buy a laptop that becomes a ChromeBRICK as soon as you're away from a reliable interent connection. The concept has always baffled me.

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