It seems the iPad can’t catch a break. While I buy new ones often, most people I talk to are still on their first iPad, and unless it’s an iPad 1, they’re still entirely supported devices. For all the “planned obsolescence” Apple is accused of doing with their phones they’ve gone way too far in the opposite direction with iPads. They Last. Forever. With up to date OSes and Apps, they continue to be able to browse the modern web (slowly), play games (at 12 fps), and watch Netflix. This is unfortunately also the domain of practically free Android and Amazon tablets. When those iPad 2’s hardware starts falling apart, they might turn to Amazon for a replacement $49 Netflix-while-cooking device.
That doesn’t mean it’s all doom for the iPad. It also doesn’t mean they can’t make some marketing changes either.
A key step in getting people to love their iPads enough to never defect to any Netflix capable tablet of sufficient size is pushing cellular. Imagine sitting in the park, using the pencil the draw the sunset, and your Watch goes off to tell you something – the dreaded “view this message on your phone”. When you’re at home on the couch, you would just slide over Messages and look and reply, but when you try that you get nothing. Your iPad isn’t connected to the internet. Carriers are doing a decent job of pushing tablets (they’re usually $10 a month to add to a contract and $100 off MSRP) but Apple isn’t telling the story WHY you wan’t that cellular iPad. Maybe it’s time to stop charging for it now that there is a single LTE model that handles all bands. Make the iPad brand synonymous with going places. Not just your couch, but other people’s couches, park benches, AirPorts where the WiFi is too congested to work, etc. This also requires a branding push from iCloud.
In addition to knocking off the cellular premium, it’s also time for bundling devices on payment plans. If you get credit approved, you should be able to get a new iPhone, Watch, and iPad for a slight discount (basically just comping Apple Care Plus on the extra devices beyond the phone).
With prices hidden by payment plans, it’s time to get rid of the 3 size tiers. Make the choice simpler by offering just a 64 and a 256GB option. 64GB is plenty for everyone, but if you know you’re going to be big on video and gaming you can opt for the 256GB.
There’s a ton that needs to be done with developer relations. Many of them are very chicken-egg scenarios but someone has to move first, it might as well be Apple. I think something that hasn’t been talked to death (like trials and upgrade pricing) is to announce the deprecation of AppKit and UIKit and announce their consolidated successor (which realistically could just be UIKit). Not some janky preprocessor consolidation like SKColor where you still occasionally run into the huge differences between NSColor and UIColor. An actual from the ground up UI Framework that _is_ the same on iOS and OS X, not just sometimes looks the same (I’m looking at you, NSPopover). Hopefully apps will flow in both directions.