Apple has quietly refreshed its iPad lineup by launching a new 9.7-inch tablet at an affordable price point. Called 9.7-inch iPad, it replaces the aging iPad Air 2 that was launched back in November 2014. In fact, to have some control over the product line, Apple also seems to have done away with the ‘Air’ series completely. With the refresh, the product lineup includes — 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad and iPad Mini 4.
According to recent IDC data on March 1 2017, the Indian tablet market slowed down, with annual shipments seeing a dip of 3.1 percent in 2016. While the year has been bad for most tablet vendors, Apple, on the other hand, has seen a good growth. After a long time, Apple has now made it to the top 5 vendors with iPad shipments seeing a growth of 16 percent over the previous quarter. Also, compared to Q4 2015, Apple has seen a growth of 17 percent in Q4 2016, which is not bad at all.
Talking about products, the iPad Air 2 had been Apple’s top selling iPad model, contributing to half of the shipments. The iPad Pro, on the other hand, accounted for 22.7 percent of India’s detachable category in 2016. This includes both, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 9.7-inch iPad Pro models that are compatible with Apple Pencil and detachable Smart Keyboard.
As for the forecast, IDC’s senior market analyst Karthik J said, “Recently, there is an increase in adoption of larger screen tablets in commercial segment we expect this to grow further in coming quarters. Detachables are expected to continue with healthy double digit growth in 2016.”
BGR India also reached out to CounterPoint Research’s Tarun Pathak to get an insight on how the tablet segment in India has been doing. While there has been an overall sluggishness, Apple had been doing quite well. “Tablet as a category has hit a plateau when it comes to usage level from consumer point of view. Not many users are geared to the idea of adding a third device between their phablets and laptops. As a result of this, the tablet market declined by 5 percent in CY 2016,” he said.
Talking about Apple’s tablet market share in India, it is close to 10 percent for the past few years. Regarding Apple’s new tablet and pricing, Tarun added saying “The new tablets might get a good uptake from hardcore Apple users and also in commercial segment thereby bringing a short term growth for Apple in India.”
What’s new in 9.7-inch iPad?
Design wise, the new 9.7-inch iPad looks and feels exactly the same as the iPad Air 2. With thickness of 7.5mm and weighing 469g, the new 9.7-inch iPad is a bit thicker compared to iPad Air 2 with thickness of 6.1mm and weighing 437g. The display size and resolution remains the same, and also most of the hardware. ALSO READ: Affordable 9.7-inch Apple iPad launched to replace iPad Air
The key difference comes in the chipset, the new iPad now runs on Apple’s 64-bit A9 dual-core (Twister) SoC paired M9 motion co-processor, and 2GB of RAM. Apple has also bumped the storage – you now get two options – 32GB base storage and the top-end model featuring 128GB storage. In terms of variants, you still get Wi-Fi only, and Wi-Fi+Cellular. ALSO READ: Apple iPhone SE at Rs 19,999: Where exactly did Apple go wrong?
Despite bump in specifications, Apple has given the 9.7-inch iPad an affordable price tag. The iPad Air 2 16GB storage variant (Wi-Fi only) was priced at Rs 35,900, whereas the 16GB variant (Wi-Fi+Cellular) was priced at Rs 45,900. Now, the latest 9.7-inch iPad with 32GB storage (Wi-Fi) only is priced at Rs 28,900, whereas the 32GB (Wi-Fi+Cellular) is priced at Rs 39,990. ALSO READ: Apple iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus red color variant launched
The additions to the new 9.7-inch iPad not only make it powerful Apple tablet, but the pricing makes it lucrative too. What’s more, the storage on iPad mini 4 has been bumped to 128GB – with the Wi-Fi only variant available for Rs 34,900, and the Wi-Fi+Cellular variant available for Rs 45,900.
Overall, Apple has been doing well in India, be it with their iPhones or iPads. The affordable pricing also shows how important the country is to Apple and it is leaving no stone unturned. Besides iPads, Apple also refreshed the iPhone SE with base storage bumped to 32GB, and prices starting at Rs 27,200. Looking at the new pricing, it is evident that Apple has indeed sweetened the deal, giving India the affordable iPad and iPhone it deserves.