The Great Tablet Segmentation (@techpinions)

As consumers become more self aware, segmentation opportunities will begin to exist in the tablet market. Nabi, a company focused on making tablets for kids of different ages, sold nearly 2m units in the US in the holiday quarter of 2013 according to our estimates. Not bad for a specialized product. 

I was floored when I read this. 2m units in a quarter for a kid’s tablet. Plus, they now run Android. Something to think about if you’re developing app experiences for kids.

Apple’s Earnings: The Least You Should Know

Apple reported earnings earlier today for fiscal Q3.

From TechCrunch:

(The company reported) $37.4 billion in revenue, $7.7 billion in net profit representing $1.28 per share. Compared to the year-ago quarter, it corresponds to a growth of 5.9 percent in revenue, and 19.6 percent in EPS (adjusted for the7-for-1 split).

This was slightly below analysts’ expectations. From Re:code:

Analysts expected Apple to report earnings of $1.23 a share on revenue of $38 billion. Looking forward, Apple said to expect revenue of $37 billion to $40 billion for its July-to-September quarter. Analysts had been forecasting a revenue projection of around $40.4 billion, with per-share earnings pegged at $1.34. Apple didn’t give a per-share earnings forecast but did say to expect gross margins of 37 percent to 38 percent.

Of those numbers, the most strikingly off belonged to that of the iPad. It’s the second quarter in a row that iPad sales have taken a significant dip. Predictably, some are predicting gloom & doom punctuated from cannibalization by the smartphone: a threat some are certain to accelerate with the introduction of a larger iPhone 6 model in September.

From BusinessWeek:

The overall tablet market has been shaky, and many people think it’s because smartphones with more powerful processors and bigger, better screens make them seem less necessary. Whenever Apple does release its new iPhones, they will likely be both bigger and more powerful than the iPhone 5S. That’s likely to be good news for Apple as it tries to claw market share back from Samsung. It could also be bad news for the iPad, as it tries to sell iPads to people with big phones in their pockets. But Apple has never been shy of cannibalizing its own products, so the iPad’s loss could be the company’s gain.

Of course one thing that hasn’t been mentioned very much that may be contributing to the growth slowdown is that the product’s lifecycle may be more in line with that of the PC (or Mac) than the smartphone. Back in March, Fortune published information from a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners study that found that:

  • Replacement: Eight out of ten lost or broken iPhones are replaced within two days. Owners of a broken Mac or iPad may not get to it for a week or more.

  • Recycling: iPad owners are more than twice as likely as iPhone owners to give their old tablets to a friend or family member.

  • First-time buyers: Only 1-2% of iPhone buyers purchase their very first phone. By contrast, the percentage of first-time iPad buyers was 78% in December 2013, down only slightly from 84% in March 2013.

Even though people might not be buying as many new iPads as Apple might have originally hoped for, they continue to dominate the overall tablet market. So I don’t think there’s much to worry about. And while tablets may be in flux, iPhone sales jumped another 12.7% from the same time a year ago.

I know this is really going out on a limb but I think Apple’s going to be OK, despite what some alarmists (and Wall Street analysts) think.

The General-Purpose iPad and the Specialist Mac (@stratechery)

Ultimately, it is the iPad that is in fact general purpose. It does lots of things in an approachable way, albeit not as well as something that is built specifically for the task at hand. The Mac or PC, on the other hand, is a specialized device, best compared to the grand piano in the living room:2 unrivaled in the hands of a master, and increasingly ignored by everyone else.

Ben’s posts are always thought-provoking. What’ll be interesting to see is what other traditional use cases tablets may be able to siphon off from PCs in the future. For me, I still do most of my writing on a desktop simply because I still have too many parameters-per-post (plugins and such) within WordPress that can’t be viewed, maintained or edited from within the WP app. And spreadsheets. Everything else I can do on the tablet, including other means of content creation (Facebook/Twitter statuses, message board posts etc.)

Samsung Got A Bigger Tablet Boost For X-mas Than Apple, Says OnSwipe (@TechCrunch)

Specifically, the company looked at visitors to Onswipe-optimized sites for the period of Dec. 26-29 in comparison to Dec. 19-22, as a way to measure the growth that different tablet platforms saw over Christmas. The results? Samsung’s Galaxy tablets grew 50.4 percent, Nexus 6 tablets grew 33.8 percent, iPads grew 20.4 percent, and Kindle Fires grew 19.5 percent.

Of course Samsung tablets, as the article points out, were starting from a much smaller baseline than the iPad.

Here’s an example of one of the cheap Android tablets coming out of China at a price tag of $60 USD

“Chinavasion has rectified that with the release of the Ceros Create,” says Li. A tablet which doesn’t only come with an up to date Android 4.2 operating system, but also 1.6Ghz of dual-core processing power and a price tag of less than sixty US dollars.

Pretty wild. In the release, they refer to a free MS Office alternative called Kingsoft Office. Here’s the Android version of the software from their website. So maybe apps are being utilized to some degree on these tablets: just not the ones that are being used Stateside and in Western Europe. Especially if they involve any kind of upfront payment.