Are tablets the future, or on the way out?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: July 23, 2014

Yesterday, Apple reported some numbers. Well, not some numbers. Quite a few numbers, actually. And in those numbers were the results of Apple's third quarter, 2014. If you happened to be looking at headlines right around 4:30PM EST, the results of that quarter either beat expectations or they didn't. Even Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, joked about how iPads beat their own expectations, but "may not have beaten yours."

Whatever the case, Apple made quite a bit of money in the quarter and they've got plenty of excitement for things that are coming down the pipeline. Of course, they wouldn't talk about those things, and so we're just going to have to continue to wait. Until then, we've got to talk about what's right in front of us. Using what we know.

And what many people were talking about as the day wound down on July 22, was iPads. Tablets, in general, but mostly iPads. Many people pointed out that things don't look too good for Apple's tablet lineup, with another quarter of declining sales. This makes the second consecutive quarter, for those who are keeping track (and a lot of people are!). So, with two in a row, the expectations are that things are going to keep looking rather bland, and that a turnaround in any major capacity just isn't going to happen.

Interestingly enough, this is probably one of the only quarterly earnings that I can remember people weren't yelling out, "Apple's doomed!" So, that's something, I guess.

Maybe not. Considering it was traded for "tablets are doomed" by many.

And maybe they are. Apple saw the second consecutive decline in sales, they still managed to sell a total of 13.2 million iPads, but maybe tablets are still doomed. Because there's a valid argument here that maybe tablets are getting phased out, and maybe it isn't just the small ones. As our phones continue to get bigger, the question is: what's the difference between a 6-inch phone and an 8-inch tablet?

Now, that could mean we see a resurgence of huge tablets at some point down the line, maybe starting in the next year even, as our phones continue to grow. So, with our six-inch smartphones/phablets/whatever, we start carrying around 12-inch tablets. Or, maybe people just stick with the phone only, and leave their tablet in a drawer somewhere -- without any plans to upgrade.

Is an iPad really just a big iPhone? Is a Galaxy Note 10.1 just a really big Galaxy Note 3?

I don't think tablets are dying. Not yet. I still have a feeling that they could become our standard computing devices. For now, though, I believe a lot of people use them as a secondary device, maybe even after their smartphone (starting from their desktop or laptop/notebook). With that in mind, upgrades aren't all that essential. If you buy an iPad mini in 2013, maybe you don't need to upgrade in 2014. We want our smartphones to improve year-over-year because we use them every day, and expect amazingness every time we use it. Our tablets can probably get away with a little longer upgrade stretches.

What do you think? Are tablets on the way out? Or do you think there is still plenty of room for growth and improvement? Let me know!

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