iPad at a Crossroads by Khoi Vinh:
“The iPad does a million things well, but none of them so well that customers have come to regard it as a critical, must-have—and must-upgrade—device. A lot has been said about customers opting to hang on to iPads longer than phones, and there’s some truth to that. But peel back that reason just a bit and the core problem is revealed: Apple has not given customers sufficient reason to upgrade every year or two, the way they have done with the iPhone, where upgrades almost feel compulsory.”
Mark this relationship between the iPad and the iPhone as subject to change with extreme prejudice. As the Watch is successful at displacing the iPhone as a user’s primary device, the iPad may see a resurgence in importance. The utility of the smallest screen will underline the value of a larger screen when one is available. While for some this will be expressed as an increased appreciation for the iPhone, the delta between a 2 inch screen and a 7 or 10 inch one may prove even more appealing. And as the iPhone provides connectivity and state to the Watch, some users may prefer to use a larger device while at home or work, leaving their phones to rest or charge.
Khoi goes on to address the lack of software differentiation on the iPad, and the absence of reason for needing one in addition to a phone. It’s unclear whether that’s necessary for the business of iPad to remain healthy; a question worth revisiting whenever the smoke and rumor around a ‘Pro’ iPad ultimately sparks to flame.