Is the iPad dead?CNET's Luke Westaway and Rich Trenholm debate whether Apple's iconic tablet is headed for the scrapheap, or has a long and happy future ahead. Which side are you on?
Is the iPad dead? Is it finished? That's what we're here to discuss. With me is Rich Trenholm. I'm Luke Westaway. Okay, Rich, you think that the iPad is finished and we shouldn't bother with it anymore. Why? That's right. Why? Why? Why? The iPad is over. It's dead, it's done, it's peaked, it's past its prime. People are still buying it certainly. But that's just a last gasp of a, of a, of a bloated, rotting corpse. Okay. Because it- It's a car hurtling downhill with the breaks cut. But maybe, it struck me, that maybe apart from the smartphone it's the most influential piece of technology in the last ten years. So, is that not true? Is that not true? It totally is true. Right. But the thing is, the, the reason the iPad was important was because, we needed an intermediate between your phone. Which was portable but didn't do very much and your laptop which was kinda portable but did everything but you couldn't really carry it around with you, take it to bed and all that kinda thing. We needed something in the middle and that's what we got with the iPad, it had the big screen. It was also, it had the big screen and it was powerful just like a laptop but you could carry it around with you. You could slip it in a bag, even in a pocket, you could take it to bed with you all that kinda thing, You could sit on the sofa with it, you didn't have to wait to turn it on all that kinda stuff. Right. We needed that. But now smartphones, they're so powerful, you've got the power of a tablet in a device that's always in your pocket and that you can always carry around with you so you now have the portability of a smartphone and the power of a laptop in a smartphone. You don't need an iPad anymore. I don't agree. People point to tablets and bigger phones and say, like. We don't need an iPad or a tablet now because these are so massive. But I think that the use for them are completely different. Hm. Cause a tablet ultimately is your phone. And a phone is something you have to carry around with you. And the battery dies and it has to make calls and all the usual things. A tablet is a more peace-. Like take a step back kind of product, it's just sort of chilling out in your house on your sofa. You look at the smart, smart phone sales and they're like up and up and up. Mm. Year and year and year and year, and, and that's, that's fair enough because people always need smart phones. They're using them every day, they're kind of. Work a day things, and they break, and you lose them, and things like that. But the tablet is, is different. Like, I don't think people use tablets in the same way that they use a smart phone. I think people reach for the tablet when want to do something that they don't want to do with their smart phone. Something that is a bit more like, okay, now I'm taking a minute out. Because on your phone you've got like. E-mails and texts and everything like, like a smartphone to me is just like the thing that I have to have to be alive in the world and functioning. Whereas the tablet is it's more peaceful like it's a zen product [CROSSTALK] it, it ocu, I think it will occupy long term the same sort of technological space as like a CD player or something like that. It's gonna be a relaxation gadget. That's not going away. Well, I'm not saying that the tablet is necessarily going away. What I'm saying is that no one is going to be buying them anymore. The other thing, the other difference between tablets and, and phones, is that you swap it. You change a phone much more often. You have the pressure from a network to buy a new one every year. So you can get an upgrade every year. So you're much more [UNKNOWN] to change phones on a more regular basis. Also [um, you have the fact that phones are much more innovative, they innovate much, much faster. WHere as tablets, they're not changing people don't change them that often because there's really no point. Look at the difference between a new iPad and the previous year's iPad. There's nothing different. They might have a slightly better camera. They might be a tiny bit thinner, but how much thinner can a tablet really get? They might have a fingerprint scanner on them, well, whoopty-do, but the thing is there's not really a huge amount of innovation between the first iPad and now. Look out. How much phones have changed over the last five years. That's incredible. So people already have tablets, and they're just not gonna buy anymore, so why wo, you know, why would you buy another tablet? It's like It's like fridges. No one's gonna be changing their fridge every year. So I think what you've done is you've mistaken slowing sales for a sign that something's completely on the way out, and you're right cuz people do upgrade their phones all the time a lot more than they would buy a tablet, but that doesn't mean that tablets aren't. being used, it just means that when we look at the graphs, it looks like tablets are, are dying. Cause phones are like going like up, and tables are like like a meteorite or something. But that's because everyone is at home using the tables, like, and I think that. I think also, that we tablet is sort of easier to like, shift them around the family, you can use some second hand, you can sell them things like that. I think it's easier to trade tablets than it is with a smart phone that has all your personal stuff on it, and. And they, and they go out of date so quickly is the other thing. Tablets last better. They have better longevity. So I mean, I'm not surprised that we're seeing, you know when the, when, when the iPad came out everyone bought one. Yeah. Cuz everyone wanted to own one. Now that they own one, obviously you see sort of sales sort of. Like just, you know, just fall a little bit, just a little gently. [LAUGH] So what to me it's just like- Slippery slope. Start with spiral. Everyone is knocked off the spiral A death spiral A pleasant plateau. It's like being on the top of a really nice. Mountain or something that has, like, a field of heather. That's where the iPad is. Heather world. [LAUGH] We'll settle gently into it. We'll settle gently into the heather. No, it's plunging into the abyss that's what's happening. And, I mean, I don't think it's any coincidence that, sales of the iPad peaked and then started to fall. At the same time as Apple released a larger phone, the iPhone 6 plus. Sold abs, absolutely in the millions, the 6 and the 6 plus and I think it's because of that, because you can get this big screen option, you don't need an iPad anymore. And they say people who have got them, they, they keep them forever. They pass them on, that kind of thing. Well, so that, so that means it's on the way out. It doesn't mean it's on the way out, it means that, it means that you just have to buy them more slowly. Like we're, we're talking in this smartphone time frame where we look at sales from just the last few years. And we're like it's not selling like millions and millions every month. Mm-hm. We don't expect that of, of other things like you know like music equipment or like I don't know kitchen technology. Or any other part of technology, it's like smart phones are an anomaly in sort of how rockety take off their sales figures are. And I think people look at tablets and go that looks a bit like a smartphone so they think that, sort of like, if it also isn't succeeding then, you know, it would those same sorts of figures, then it's a failure but I don't think it is. I think you know, the, the, the, the iPad, and other tablets can quite comfortably just sort of [INAUDIBLE] pleasant amounts every year, you know, enough money for Apple to keep making them. Just keep taking over. Yeah. Well. It's not that much to make them probably. I think it's just like spider webs and a bit of metal. [LAUGH] and tears and unicorn's tears. Mm-hm. Well the thing is I mean, I've got one word for you iPod. Right everybody had an iPod for ages and it went away because the smart phones took over it. I'm glad you brought up the iPod Rich, you've just activated my trap. I've fallen into a trap. Okay so the iPod is actually perfect, because I'm not saying the iPad is going to be around literally forever. But... [LAUGH] It'll outlast you and me put [CROSSTALK]. But look at, look at the iPod's longevity. So that was launched I believe in 2001... Mm-hm. and it was only recently sort of. Retired after like, after. [CROSSTALK] on it's been [CROSSTALK] shambling corpse of the iPod. Yeah but, but like that's the I know but that's the point at which they retire it. Mm-hm. The point where they're like actually there's, there's no point in us making that anymore. And Apple being the sort of capitalist [UNKNOWN] that it is would only stop doing that if didn't think it was making money anymore. So using the iPod as a perfect example, Mm-hm. which continued for many years successfully. After the iPhone came out, I think the iPad clearly has you know more than a decade left in it. Yeah but look at the gimmickry they had to resort to with the iPod. They every year they'd change it. They'd bring out the nano and the mini and all that kind of thing. And they'd change it from being square, to being rectangular, to being square again, to being round, to being like bow shaped or whatever. Well, you were just saying that there was no innovation in the iPad, and that they were basically the same? So wouldn't you rather see them in some different colors? I, that, that would, that would be great, but it's not gonna happen. You can't change, you can't mess with the tablet that much. Why? [LAUGH] Well, when there's something, I mean. In a tablet. You could make it into, like a cylinder, that's one example, that's one million dollar idea right there. Gotta get right on that, well yea, I'll just call up Sam Cook. Okay, you might be right. You may have some good points. All right, well I believe that the iPad can exist quite comfortably alongside smartphones. Rich, well you've heard what Rich has to say. It involves the word hobbles or something like that. That wasn't very pleasant. Yeah, there's some shambling corpses in there as well. Anyway, yeah, yeah, well let us know what you think in the comments and stay tuned to CNet