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On the Leveling-Off of iPad Sales

Jean-Louis Gassée, on the widespread expectation that year-over-year iPad sales have leveled off:

Despite the inspiring ads, Apple’s hopes for the iPad overshot what the product can actually deliver. Although there’s a large numbers of iPad-only users, there’s also a substantial population of dual-use customers for whom both tablets and conventional PCs are now part of daily life.

I see the lull in iPad sales as a coming down to reality after unrealistic expectations, a realization that iPads aren’t as ready to replace PCs as many initially hoped.

In short, Gassée is arguing that tablet sales have hit a wall, and that the iPad needs to grow more Mac-like capabilities for advanced tasks.

Gassée’s piece spawned an interesting thread on Twitter, in which Benedict Evans argued:

Posit: slow iPad sales are worse news for the PC market: implies phones can take the greater share of PC use cases.

I find that compelling. We might have overestimated the eventual role of tablets and underestimated the role of phones — and the whole argument is further muddled by the industry-wide move toward 5-inch-ish phone displays.

Monday, 21 April 2014