Carolina Milanesi, chief of research for Kantar WorldPanel Comtech, also published a review yesterday based on her early time with the tablet. Her thoughts were similar to Moorhead's, but she saw the face time by Cook as, if not unplanned, then dual purpose. "In his case, it's maybe a coincidence because he's in Europe [on other business]," Milanesi said.
"There's no pressure on Apple related to iPad revenue or from the marketplace, but Apple knows it has to get people to care about tablets again," she added. "People have moved on from tablets. So this is how Apple gets people to pay attention."
By tablet sales in general, and iPad sales specifically, people do seem to have moved on. Perhaps not from tablets, but from buying new tablets. iPad sales have contracted for seven straight fiscal quarters, dropping 20% in the September quarter of 2015 compared to the same period the year before. That was the second-largest decline in the iPad's five-year history.
"Apple is very confident that they have a good product in the iPad Pro," said Milanesi, citing bullish comments Cook and other executives have repeatedly made, long before the iPad Pro's introduction, about the tablet market and its potential. "But the category has stagnated. That's what this is. We're seeing more executives being vocal about the tablet to get people to care again."
One prominent hint of the lack of attention paid to the iPad was during last month's quarterly earnings call, when near its end, Cook said, sotto voce, "Nobody is asking about iPad on the call," after financial analysts had ignored the tablet.
"The industry and people have written off the category, but that's not the case for Apple," said Milanesi.
According to research firm Gartner, just 17% of consumers surveyed in the U.S., Brazil, China, France and India and the U.K., said they planned to purchase a tablet in the next year.
"Apple doesn't need growth from the iPad," Moorhead said, pointing to the continued billions the Cupertino, Calif. company rakes in from its iPhone, $32.2 billion in the September quarter alone. "What it has to do is show that the iPad has more momentum with the Pro."
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