Entry-level iPad dramatically boosted US sales

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Entry-level iPad dramatically boosted US sales

Late last year, Apple finally updated the entry-level iPad to bring it into line with the all-screen design of its more expensive models – and that decision appears to have paid off.

Market intelligence data suggests that Apple achieved dramatic growth in iPad shipments during the first quarter of this year …

Canalys shipment estimates point to year-on-year iPad growth of 20.5%, representing almost a million more US iPads. That growth increased Apple’s share of the US tablet market from 38.6% to a full 50%.

Apple’s market share would be significantly higher but for the fact that Amazon’s Fire tablets are included in the same category. Arguably the vast majority of its Fire tablets – which run from well under $100 – should be classified as e-book readers or kids’ devices.

New entry-level iPad likely played a big role

Canalys doesn’t provide a model breakdown, but given there were no iPad updates during the quarter itself, the launch of the completely updated 10th-gen iPad late in the previous quarter almost certainly played a major role.

Launched in mid-October, the new entry-level iPad did increase the price from $329 to $449, but for that you’re getting a much more modern device, with a design close to that of the premium models. Apple also launched a new matching Magic Keyboard Folio.

The new 10th generation iPad has been completely redesigned, now with the same design as the rest of the iPad line. It also features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display without the Home button, and Touch ID is now integrated into the Power button.

The Lightning connector has been replaced by USB-C, marking the end of Lightning in the iPad lineup. iPad 10 also supports 5G connectivity and works with a new Magic Keyboard Folio introduced specifically for this model. Available in 64GB and 256GB configurations with Wi-Fi and Cellular versions, prices for the iPad 10 start at $449 in the US.

While reviews of the device were somewhat mixed, some suggesting that it might be worth paying the premium for the $599 iPad Air, others pointed to it as the biggest update to the lineup since the launch of the Air back in 2013. Others suggested that for some the 10th-gen iPad with Magic Keyboard combo might make a better bet than a MacBook Air.

Also launched at the same time was a new M2-powered iPad Pro, but this was a relatively minor update whose only other notable feature was support for Apple Pencil “hover.”

But Mac shipments slumped

Canalys says that Q1 was a tough one for the PC market, with year-on-year shipments falling 28%.

A confluence of factors led to the US PC market bottoming out at the start of 2023,” said Ishan Dutt, Principal Analyst at Canalys. “The expected seasonal drop after the holidays coincided with the channel finalizing its inventory correction, resulting in muted sell-in of PCs. On the commercial front, businesses continue to grapple with economic pressures, including three further interest rate hikes since the start of the year. Budget-conscious organizations have extended the life cycle of their existing PCs, with many opting only for critical upgrades.

Macs fared even worse, with a 35.8% fall. This was no surprise, however, given what Apple itself referred to as a “difficult compare” with the rollout of Apple Silicon Macs.

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