Apple unveiled a couple of incredible new iPads on Tuesday, including the new iPad mini with Retina Display and the svelte, one-pound iPad Air. They even kept the low-res iPad mini for sale as an entry-level iPad at $299.
What, then, is Apple doing selling the iPad 2 still? At $399, it’s as expensive as a more powerful Retina iPad mini. It’s also less powerful than the $299 iPad mini Apple is selling at the price-tier below it. So why does Apple even bother selling them? It’s as simple as the fact that people keep buying the iPad 2.
According to data from market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the iPad 2 is actually still a huge seller for Apple. In fact, the second-gen iPad made up a whopping 22% of Apple’s tablet sales this quarter, and that’s after being down considerably from the June quarter, where more than one in three iPads sold were iPad 2s.
This is fascinating, and indicates a big problem with the iPad line-up compared to the iPhone. For most people, a two-year old iPad (or even the first iPad!) can still do most of what they want a tablet to do. They can browse, read and watch media on it, and that’s about all they want. The iPad’s more like a laptop, and can’t drive a yearly upgrade cycle the same way a phone can.
I’m personally going to buy myself a 128GB iPad mini with Retina Display the second it becomes available, but after that, I imagine it’ll be my last iPad for the next three or four years. Truthfully, if not for the low-res screen and my unfortunate decision to buy a low capacity model, I’m still very happy with my 16GB iPad mini, favoring it even over my 64GB iPad with Retina Display for most tasks. I think, in a few years, I’ll probably be one of these guys still happily plucking away on a comparatively ancient iPad mini, the same way I’m still typing these words on a 2009 iMac. What about you?