What is in store for Apple iPad?

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Considering the moves of Apple in 2010, they were clearly taking a big risk with their new product iPad and now, they have emerged out to be successful.

Back then, the entire industry was dominated with netbooks and laptops. It was clear that Apple had to position itself in this market and had to foray in the typical low battery backup, less performance and handy area of electronics. But Apple hit it with a style and came up with an innovative, smart and handy gadget that had a touchscreen display and amazing power.

All the critical decisions were called by Steve Jobs and he was the one who decided where Apple had to make its mark. He wanted email, web browsing, games and books to be accessible easily from the iPad to start with. Eventually, it opened a whole new market where there were thousands of apps available for download. Due to this, Apple is able to push better products in the market and it is also able to capture a significant market share for its products.

However, with the introduction of iPad, they clearly defined a new segment in the industry, and now, after five years since it was first launched, iPad is facing competition from buyers as they have an offering named the iPhone 6 Plus which is just below the iPad and there is the latest 12 inches MacBook that is just above the iPad. Also, the new MacBook bears a striking resemblance to the iPad in the way it is designed and developed.

New Macbook

With this, iPad clearly had an internal competition and the rivals for iPad were the lineup of products from its parent company Apple. However, its rival Microsoft had a clear vision and knew that tablets would start offering computational power as much as computers do. This is evident with each update Microsoft rolls out, as they do not look anywhere like the interface of an iPad and offer an experience equivalent to that of a computer. However, as they had not entered the touchscreen segment initially, they were unable to successfully market and implement the first two iterations of Windows RT, which were exclusively meant for tablets.

Surface Pro 3

Next came the Surface Pro 3, which sported 12” displays and it was enhanced by discarding the touch displays and using a real key input instead. The main idea behind this as per Microsoft developers were to enhance the usability and improve the user experience. Also, there was no competition for this product as manufacturers had a tough time to create a similar product. Due to the premium features offered in Surface Pro 3, it was placed in the league of MacBook Air and iPad, thereby putting the Apple products in a tougher place.

Whereas, executives at Apple are still sure that the tablet market is stable and growing rapidly. The new CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, is also extensively promoting the development of iPad and he has accelerated its growth when compared to Steve Jobs.

Tim Cook with iPad

Apple plans to capture the market and have better sales in this segment. However, users still cannot get convinced that an iPad would be able to offer all the functionalities they enjoy using large computers and hence, sales do not come easy in this segment.

In a recent move, Apple collaborated with IBM to provide its Japanese executives with iPads. As it is easy to use for all age groups, it is of much use. However, the trade-off is that, it cannot be customized easily.

Apple would not create a multi-purpose 2-in-1 product such as a detachable tablet-PC unlike Microsoft and hence, Microsoft would continue to dominate this market, whereas Apple would continue to make things simpler for their users. However, users are expecting iOS team to add a better level of integration with Bluetooth keyboards so that they can use the iPad more easily.

iPad with Bluetooth keyboard

But Apple continues to focus more on the user experience and convenience by launching a smaller version of the iPad known as iPad Mini, which again competes with other 7” Android tablets available. Apple is not compromising on their quality in a bid to cut the prices and compete with other offerings in the market. They are continuing to deliver the best products and are competing by leveraging on their build quality and user experience.

This said, there are three possibilities about how Apple would direct the future of iPad.

Larger displays

Rumors are doing rounds that Apple with come up with a new variant of iPad that would be larger in size, which would further enhance the user experience. If they come up with a larger iPad, they would directly be competing with Microsoft, Samsung and Lenovo, who are already fighting for their place in the market. Although there is no market leader in this category, iPad would be able to dominate this area by offering larger iPads and it would also result in iPad competing with Apple’s own MacBook. Ultimately, it would result in better revenues for Apple.

Re-introduce stylus input

iPad with Bamboo stylus
Image credit: “Bamboo Stylus for iPad” by Camillo Miller, used under CC BY-NC-ND

Other market leaders such as Microsoft and Samsung have come up with variants that have stylus option in tablets. Steve Jobs was adamant during the launch of iPhone that it should not include a stylus and he wanted it to continue across all Apple products. However, we feel that a stylus input would do more justice to the usability of Apple products. Users of Microsoft and Samsung are clearly delighted with the usage of stylus, as they are able to draw and write easily. However, Apple wants the iPad to be free of any other type of input. But, Apple is now incorporating Force Touch to all its products.

Tap feedback

Apple Watch with Mickey Mouse

With the new Taptic engine introduced in the Apple Watch and the trackpad of the latest MacBook, users would have a better experience while operating glass touchscreens.

However, customers are still preferring slimmer and larger devices. Due to this, they would have to limit on the capabilities too. We prefer Apple to introduce products with larger screens that would take user experience to an all-new level.