Can the iPad Air 2 be Successful?
On Oct 16, 2014 Apple is scheduled to release the long awaited, often rumored iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Fresh of its launch of the iPhone 6, Apple is hoping to reignite consumer enthusiasm for the iconic iPad.
The event, to be held on Apple's campus in Cupertino, Calif, will also feature Apple's new line of Mac computers and an update to the Mac operating system (Yosemite).
While the iPad still dominates the tablet market, Apple's recent sales reports show the iPad sales are waning - iPad sales are off almost 9% from the same time a year ago.
Phablets like the Galaxy Note or iPhone 6 plus have been encroaching on tablet turf.
Ironically, it may be Apple's commitment to product quality is hurting iPad sales. Recent surveys have suggested that people are holding onto their iPads for three or more years, versus an average of two years with their smartphones.
Who Should Consider Buying?
We feel only a certain segment should buy these new tablets.
- Do not own a Tablet
- Own an iPad 3 or older (iOS 8 is sluggish on it)
- Experience many crashes loading complex email or web pages
- Those interested in more security
46% of iPad owners have an old iPad 1 or 2. These model do not even have a Retina display. It is time for these folks to upgrade.
The new iPad Air 2 is expected to be:
- 5mm Thinner
- Faster with A8X processor
- Gold option
- Better 8Mpixel rear Camera with burst mode
- Double the memory – 2GB
- Storage may increase to 16GB/64GB/128GB
- Touch ID
- Apple Pay support
The feature list seems to suggest a slightly thinner, marginally faster iPad. The higher definition rear camera is notable, but only if you feel comfortable whipping out a 9.7" tablet to take a photo. The same is true of Apple Pay - sure, it is more secure than entering your credit card online, but will anyone use a tablet to complete a retail transaction?
The Touch ID feature is a useful security feature, and we're sure it will make the iPad less attractive to would be thieves - for those of you who take your iPad everywhere. For the rest of us, we tend to leave our iPads on our desk or coffee table, and Touch ID by itself isn't a compelling reason to upgrade. For this reason, Touch ID is more likely being included to support ApplePay. Our sources indicate that NFC will not be supported, but TouchID Is is more critical for ApplePay support. For example, the Touch ID can be used to fill website forms automatically, providing a simpler, less time consuming purchase experience. Think of it like a single click purchase option, with much better security.
Early reports suggested Apple might release a 12.9" iPad, but a recent release by Apple has pushed that release back indefinitely. We think that's a bad move - the most often requested feature in forums devoted to Apple is a bigger iPad. If Apple is aiming to make the iPad into a notebook killer, a larger screen is the logical first step.
In addition, Apple is releasing a gold iPad Air 2, which may appeal to a previously untapped market segment.
We believe the usual:
- Faster processor
- Slimmer form factor
- Memory upgrade
Simply do not resonate with consumers as much as in the past. In the end, existing tablets are powerful enough to run our current apps efficiently, unless perhaps you are a developer or other power user. Do you experience crashes in Safari and Mail? Constant refreshing of Safari tabs? If this has been your iPad experience, Apple's decision to increase the iPad Air 2's memory to 2GB may be just the reason you need to upgrade.
Full sized iPads have traditionally started at $499 for a 16GB base model. While their have been rumors of a price drop on the new iPad Air, a source inside Apple denied a new price point was in the works.
The equivalent Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 16GB costs $499.99, also but has features slightly higher resolution (1600x2560) Super AMOLED screen. While Apple's pricing is competitive, we feel a better price point for Apple is $399.
The iPad Air 2 should do well in the holiday season, but no single compelling feature will drive its sales. The same can be said for competitive tablets - in other words, no tech company is bringing a game changing, gotta-have-it tablet into the 2014 holiday season.
Our guess for the "it" gadget this year? We're giving a nod to the new breed of smartwatches - their feature sets are finally expanding out of the fitness-only market segment and are rapidly garnering broader consumer notice.