SWOT Analysis of the iPad Product Line

This year, Apple came out with a brand new iPad 2018. Since it’s cost-effective even as brand new (compared to other iPads) and Apple Pencil compatible, it seems to have students in mind.

That got me thinking. What strengths and weaknesses do all iPads offer? That’s why I decided to do this SWOT analysis of the iPad Product line, where we discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the devices in detail.

Strengths: There’s one for everyone

By now, everyone knows Apple. And when they release a new product, fans are constantly refreshing to see the unveiling. It was the same with the iPad, then the iPad Mini, and more recently, with the improved iPad 2018.

The iPad is known for its transportability. It’s easy to carry. Watching videos and television is crisp with the built-in Retina display. And the sleek design — expected from every one of their products — makes it both stylish and responsive. You also have a built-in companion, Siri, who can send messages, schedule appointments, and research whatever you need.

iPads are efficient for business owners, employees, and students — although it’s sort of lost footing with students until recently. An iPad is a portable notetaker, a document editor, and a messaging device, especially for businesses. People are even using it as a Point of Sales system in stores (basically replacing their system with iPads to cash out customers).

And with the iPad 2018, Apple has decided to re-focus on aiming to students. Until this year, the stylish Apple Pencil, a type of stylus perfect for artists and notetaking students, could only be paired with the iPad Pro. The Pro is also much more expensive, ranging from $650 for a 10.5-inch screen to $950 for a 12.9 inch, depending on storage size too.

But the iPad 2018, although smaller, is only $329+. Compared to the Pro, this new version is much cheaper. Students are rejoicing for the price slash. It’s a win for the company and for their customers.

Weaknesses: Molasses-like charging

The battery life of an iPad depends on the generation. Some iPad Mini owners report it lasts longer than the iPad Pro 2017. But charging any iPad is frustrating. It can take the entire day to get that guy from 0 to 100% (although it’s not good for the battery life to do that). You can buy specific cables to help, but for such an expensive piece of hardware, customers shouldn’t expect to spend half their day waiting for the device.

Another complaint among customers is the total negligence to the iPad Mini line. It hasn’t been touched in years. These older devices have become clunky and slow, some of which are stuck on iOS 9 (for comparison, the iPad Pro is currently on iOS 11.3).

The Mini is smaller than all other iPads. It’s not designed for heavy use like photo-editing, watching Netflix, and multitasking simultaneously. But it’s a simple device for chatting, reading, and playing a game or two. There’s definitely a demographic for it, but Apple is blatantly ignoring it.

The truth is, the company relies heavily on iPhone sales, so that’s their focus. It’s not unexpected by users, but it’s still frustrating to watch your favorite device rot away into nothing.

Opportunities: Education craves the iPad

Apple has made an obvious comparison: the iPad is like a laptop. In fact, on the official website, they claim the iPad Pro 2017 is more powerful than a laptop. And that has given other companies, like Microsoft, ammo. They’ve created commercials to clearly outline how the iPad is not a laptop. But depending who you ask among Apple fans, the iPad can work just like one, depending on your needs.

Many college students are taking their iPads to class with them. It’s lighter than a bulky laptop. It requires little setup. You can use the built-in keyboard or buy a Bluetooth version. Or you can take notes on the iPad with the Apple Pencil, just like you would with pen or paper. It seems they’re noticing this need because they remodeled the iPad 2018, slashed the price, and made it pairable to the Apple Pencil.

They’re also encouraging schools and teaching staff to buy these iPads for classes, going so far as to offer school-related discounts. If this works out, it could mean more emphasis on iPad designs, but with a specific education-focus. That means the older gens and the lonely iPad Mini could be left out to dry while the iPad and iPad Pro see calculated revisions.

There’s also an opportunity to create more products to work with these iPads. The iPad Pro has a Smart Connector. It allows specific products, like the Smart Keyboard (a Bluetooth keyboard) to connect directly to the iPad Pro, turning it into a little computer. And despite this being a simple and easy way to connect the two, Apple has ignored this nifty capability. Customers want more products that can use this feature, but so far, options are scarce.

And then there’s the Apple Pencil. It can be improved. Artists want it to fully mimic a pencil, meaning the end should act as an erase. It also needs an “off switch”, because every time the pencil moves, it turns on. The battery drains. It’s annoying because it’s likely to turn on while it bounces around in a backpack. Other stylus’ have programmable buttons on it, but the Apple Pencil doesn’t. Combining these changes, along with the cry for new Smart Connector devices, could open up plenty of marketable opportunity for Apple and the iPad product line.

Threats: The competition is looming

The competition is intensifying. Other tablet companies will study Apple’s achievements and try to improve. Other companies will put out an even more affordable tablet in hopes of attracting new customers. Seeing as there is a demand to use iPads as laptops, especially in the classroom, the competition will follow along.

Price is always a threat too. All prices differ based on the allocated storage on the device and the size. A 9.7 inch iPad will be cheaper than a 10.5 inch. That’s just the facts. But the price difference can make or break a purchase. This is exactly why they’ve made a more cost-effective version, but it’s only in one size: 9.7 inches.

And, like any tech company, they face the risk of a data breach. It’s happening more and more to other companies (recently with the app MyFitnessPal). People hack the servers and steal credit card info. A breach could spell disaster for Apple’s brand image if it were to happen.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash