It’s time for Apple to streamline the confusing iPad lineup

Apple will likely launch new iPad Pros, iPad Airs, and accessories during the first week of May, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says in his latest “Power On” newsletter.

With quarterly sales in the billions of dollars, the iPad would be a huge technology company as a stand-alone product. However, it’s time for Apple to consider a refresh of the tablet lineup, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) agrees. The confusing iPad lineup continues to have four tiers: the basic, original iPad; the most powerful iPad Pro; the premium iPad Air; and the smaller iPad mini. Across these four model groups, there are six model choices, including the newest 10th generation basic iPad, the still-available 9th generation iPad, and two sizes of iPad Pros – 12.9 inch and 11 inch. 

Across this array, we see shifts in share of sales that suggest softening demand for the highest-priced models. Shares among the five models (grouping 10th and 9th generation standard iPads) were spread fairly evenly in the most recent quarter.

Combining the two screen sizes, iPad Pro continues to lead the market, with about half of total sales in the most recent period. iPad Air, iPad, and iPad mini each have 15-20% of total sales.

Why do we need so many models? Why not just the iPad Pro and iPad Air — and perhaps a low cost iPad for the education market? As for the iPad Pro, Apple needs to decide if it’s indeed a laptop/alternative replacement or “just” a great tablet. If it’s the former, the iPadOS is going to have to become much more macOS-like if folks like me are going to use it instead of a Mac laptop.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.