It’s been a tough couple of years for the iPad, the revolutionary Apple gadget that single-handedly kicked-started the whole market for tablets five years ago.
After it shot super fast out of the gate with blockbuster sales in 2010, the iPad’s trajectory has flattened and then sunk a bit over the last few quarters (as has been the case for tablets in general).
Still, it appears Apple is very quietly preparing to lower the iPad’s profile just a tad. In a story on 9to5mac.com yesterday, it was reported that Apple is planning to announce new versions of the iPads at the event next week in San Francisco.
If that report is correct, than this would be the first time that new iPads haven’t been rolled out as headliners at a standalone event.
The iPad was first introduced on January 27, 2010 at an event at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.
On March 2, 2011, Apple unveiled the iPad 2 (with smart covers and rear- and front-facing cameras), also at YBC. The “new iPad” (with Retina screen) was announced on March 7, 2012.
Then, in October of that same year, came the iPad mini and the 4th generation iPad. October 2013 brought the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina. And last October, we got the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.
That last was close to a hybrid event, though people still referred to it as the “iPad Event.” The company spent a substantial amount of time discussing the new Mac OS, and previously announced products like Apple Pay and the Apple Watch, before finally getting around to iPads and concluding with some updates to Macs.
Of course, at the preceding iPad events, other products were announced or discussed, like new MacBooks, or software updates. But in each case, the iPad was the main draw at the Yerba Buena Center.
Not this time. The company is reportedly planning to announced the iPad Pro, aimed as businesses, along with a new iPad mini, at what is shaping up to be one of Apple’s largest events ever. The press conference is being held in San Francisco at the Bill Graham Civic Center, which seats 7,000.
The headliner for the September event is typically new iPhones. But this year the company is also expected to discuss the new Apple TV and updates to the Apple Watch. If all of this comes to pass, attendees and viewers at home could be in for an event lasting well over two hours.
The 9to5Mac.com story does hedge a bit, and says the iPads could still be pushed back to an October event. And indeed, the new Apple TV everyone thought would be seen at events earlier this year got pushed back.
Still, it seems like the introduction of new uses for businesses and incremental updates for consumers would hardly be enough to generate a ton of thrills at an iPad-focused event.
Instead, it looks like the iPad is destined to be treated on par with other Apple products — like the TV, Watch and Macs. Still better than just about everything everyone else makes. But also living in the shadow of the unstoppable juggernaut that is the iPhone.
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