Is Apple Pushing the iPad as a Viable Laptop Alternative?

It’s been an accepted truth for quite some time now: iPad sales are declining. Apple’s own figures show that sales have declined for twelve straight quarters. However, these figures might not be telling the whole story.

Interestingly enough, according to a new report from Above Avalon, it’s the iPad mini whose sales are shrinking. When it comes to the combined sales of the 9.7- and 12.9-inch models, sales are actually flat to slightly up over the past year.

“For the past four years, we have seen various theories put forth to explain the significant drop in iPad sales,” reads the report. “Longer upgrade cycles, larger iPhones, inferior software, lack of professional apps, and even poor Apple storytelling have been given as factors driving iPad sales weakness […] Instead, the iPad’s problem has been the iPad mini.”

It’s easy to see why iPad mini sales have decreased, as larger iPhones have stepped up to fill that gap. However, despite the mini’s decrease in sales, the report argues that Apple will now increase its push for consumers to replace their laptops with newer, larger, and more powerful iPads.

The report cites three main points backing this claim up. The first is that Tim Cook has said in the past that the iPad is “the clearest expression of Apple’s vision of the future of personal computing.” Second, Apple’s new iPad Pro campaign elevates the iPad at the expense of the Mac. And finally, Apple’s aggressive price points show the company’s desire to make the devices available for a mass market, while is expensive Mac pricing makes the computers available to less people.

So will Apple continue to push the iPad as a viable laptop alternative, relegating the Mac to more niche, expensive markets? While the numbers may seem to provide credence to that notion, Phil Schiller said last year that the laptop form factor was “eternal.”

“The new MacBook Pro is a product that celebrates that it is a notebook, this shape that has been with us for the last 25 years is probably going to be with us for another 25 years because there’s something eternal about the basic notebook form factor,” he said.