iPad sales down, Amazon Fire bites the dust, iPhone sales rocket

Posted on by Mike Evans

What's the difference between an iPhone and an iPad, apart from screen size? Nothing except that the phone has the ability to make calls. And when phones start to grow in size, perhaps in inverse ratio to the number of phone calls made, the differences between pad and phone begins to blur even more.

This month we've heard that sales of Apple's iPads are gracefully falling, down just over 17 percent in the last quarter of the calendar year when compared with 2013. Other tablet manufacturers are faring worse. Amazon's Fire plummeted by 70 percent. The problem, I think, is that larger-screen phones are beginning to cannibalise tablet sales in a big way. Why shouldn't they? One device that can serve as a tablet and a phone makes a lot of sense. 

On September 12 last year I pressed the button on an iPhone 6 Plus. I'd been a closet phabletist for a couple of years, peering peevishly over the shoulders of fellow tube passengers clutching their Samsung Notes and what have you. I was ready for the 6 Plus and I haven't regretted buying it for one minute. Only occasionally do I notice the size (which, incidentally, shrinks subjectively with every month that goes by). It can be a little awkward to fit in a pocket; and because it isn't always in my pocket I have on occasion left home without it. 


In the past, if I forgot my phone, I could pass the day with the iPad. But now, with the 6 Plus performing both phone and tablet duties, it is more of a disaster to walk out without it. But, as I say, these are minor problems and nothing that a bit of ingenuity cannot solve. 

A bigger problem is what to do with the iPad Air 2 which I bought in the fear that I couldn't manage without a tablet. I lasted three months with just the iPhone to keep me happy and, by that time, I should have known better. Then, in November, I bought an iPad Air 2 on impulse, primarily because I wanted a larger screen to use when reading Readly magazines. Fair enough, it does a great job for this task.

Overall, though, I am not getting enough use out of the iPad Air to make it worthwhile. Buying it was a mistake. I imagined I would use it around the house, perhaps on my knees while watching TV, but this hasn't happened. The device I carry around all day, the device I use for reading books, doing the accounts, updating OmniFocus, is the brilliant iPhone 6 Plus. It the nearest thing I have ever got to a universal communications device, something that is always with me and which does almost everything with aplomb.

It isn't perfect. I think Apple made a mistake in the odd 16:9 aspect ratio. I would have preferred a little more width at the expense of depth, something that would be friendlier for productivity apps, news reading and book reading.

Apple has never been shy of introducing new concepts which cannibalise sales of existing products. So, with the 6 Plus being the success that it is, it is no surprise that it is shaving the top off the iPad market. 

Yet my iPad Air sits on its lonesome for days on end. Gone are the days when I travelled with iPhone and iPad or iPad mini. Now, I am completely wedded to the iPhone 6 Plus.