Editor's desk: iPads, Lambos, and speed limits

Editor's desk: iPads, Lambos, and speed limits

The big news this week was AAPL's earnings. The iPhone beat all expectations to once again thrill — and terrify — the world as an almost unmatched profit-making machine. The iPad, however, came up short. The iPad didn't sell as many as expected or as it had in the past. That's in the context of one quarter, however. What is it in the context of Apple's business?

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook explained the supply chain and sell-in vs. sell-through reasons for the iPad shortfall. He had a much more compelling reason as well, though.

Since it's launch in the spring of 2010 — just 4 years ago — the iPad has sold 210 million units. According to Cook, that's twice as many as the iPhone sold in 4 years, and an astonishing seven times as many as the iPod sold in the same time period. That's incredibly, almost unprecedented acceleration. But the result is that the iPad hit the current market limits more quickly than many, especially Wall Street, expected.

Imagine the iPad is a Lamborghini. But a Lamborghini in the city. It can still go from 0 to 60 mph in the blink of an eye, but then it's stuck at 60 because that's the current limit. That's also exactly what the iPad did. Except the iPad went from 0-210. Million.

Wall Street already has profound trouble understanding Apple's business, and when expectations are as misaligned as they are in the iPad's case, it only makes it works.

M.G. Siegler frames it well on Medium:

As a standalone business, just based on the last 12 months of revenue, the iPad would be in the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500. Think about that for a second. The iPad alone is bigger than almost all Fortune 500 companies.

If the iPad is a fad, it's the greatest fad in the history of American business. And so I repeat: the iPad got too successful, too quickly. And everyone (including Apple) got spoiled by those insane numbers.

In terms of install base and a host of other metrics, the iPad remains a phenomena. But what to do about that speed limit? What to do about the many people who want iPads already having them, and keeping them for long periods of time without feeling the pressure or having the carrier-incentives to upgrade?

You evolve.

And so, when I back up from all of these, I feel great. That doesn't mean that every quarter, every 90 days is going to be a number that everybody is thrilled with. But what it means to me is that the trend over the arc of time that things look very, very good, that iPad has a great future. And of course the thing that drives us more than any of this are the next iPads if you will, the things that are in the pipeline, the things that we can do to make the product even better and there is no shortage of work going in on that nor any shortage of ideas.

That was Tim Cook as well. One of the few people on earth who knows Apple's iPad roadmap for the next ~4 years. But what do you think Apple can do to evolve the iPad?

Note: We've got a new super-page up where you can follow all our coverage of Apple, the company. You can find it at imore.com/aapl. Chris Umiastowski, Peter Cohen, Kevin Michaluk, myself, and others will all be writing there. It's one to bookmark.

Apple Q2 2014 financial results

We've got a new super-page up where you can follow all our coverage of Apple, the company. You can find it at imore.com/aapl. Chris Umiastowski, Peter Cohen, Kevin Michaluk, myself, and others will all be writing there. It's one to bookmark.

Sexism in tech

The technology industry is in no way welcoming, supportive, inclusive, and encompassing enough of women. In an effort to give voice to the issue, Guy English and I turned over this week's episode of the Debug podcast to a panel of women in technology so they could share their experiences and insight. I learned an incredible amount.

  • Debug 34: Sexism in tech: With Serenity Caldwell of Macworld/TechHive, Jessie Char of Pacific Helm, Georgia Dow of ZEN & TECH, and Brianna Wu of Giant Spacekat.

If you haven't listened yet, please do. Then let me know what you think. If you had a daughter who wanted to get into tech, how can we ensure she'd have a better experience?

Net neutrality

Many of us have already allowed our governments to destroy what should have been our inalienable right to privacy. Regaining it will no doubt be a long, hard battle with little chance of victory. So it should come as no surprise that our governments are also willing an able to destroy our rights to neutrality as well. How that battle will play out is equally hard to see but just as important for our future.

I'm saddled with the CRTC in Canada, which as far as I can tell has been lackluster at best when it comes to protecting the welfare of Canadian citizens online. If you're in the U.S., however, here are some things you can do:

What's your take on net neutrality? How important is it to you and to the content you enjoy online?

The road ahead

We've got a brand new WWDC super-page up now as well. You can find it at imore.com/wwdc-2014. It'll be your one best place to go up to, during, and following up on Apple's first big event of the year. This Friday will mark the start of the 1-month countdown to the WWDC countdown and we're planning on hitting both iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 hard each and every one of those days. Stay tuned!

Also, yes, iMore's hiring!

If you think you have what it takes, read the post and send in your application!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Editor's desk: iPads, Lambos, and speed limits

1 Comment

How would I evolve the iPad? Honestly, to start, "borrow" a few features from windows tablets.
-A great stylus. At least better support for 3rd party.
-split screen multi tasking.
-guest login and/or multi user logins.
-a unified file handler; no more copying a file when opening in a second app.
-File Revisions would certainly be helpful, or a sort of time machine, even if not stored on the iPad, but iCloud or local machine. Many apps seem to auto-save, what if you were interrupted and something just goes wrong, or you just want to revert?
-I know there is an accessory for this (I have a good one) but: dual headphone jacks with individual volume controls.
-front facing speakers. (Think HTC one).
-onboard Siri.
-more RAM!
-Touch ID. (Obviously)

I really don't think we'll ever see this: an iPad with an 8.5x11 screen.

I've heard the rumors of the "Kinect" camera, this would be better suited for desktop I think, but I can't see apple implementing this unless it was MUCH better than the Kinect.

I have a much larger list for iOS tweaks.

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