In the first update since November 2017, Apple today released version 1.7.8 of Workflow, the powerful iOS automation app they acquired last year.
Last year I shared an article which certainly looked like workflow was not getting any new features. That rumour was wrong and I’m very glad. This has to be a good sign for iPad Pro users and certainly makes me wonder what the long term future holds for workflow.
Every quarter Apple releases sales figures of its devices in the previous quarter which provide an indication of how its business is going and what is growing or declining. One of the big stories from the last few years has been the slow decline of the iPad’s sales and if this means the iPad (and tablets) are a thing of the past like netbooks rather than the future of computing as Apple claims.
While it is impossible to tell how well the current iPad Pro’s are doing after the latest refresh, we can get some idea from search results.
If searches go up, so do sales (in general)
In generally, the search results for apple devices reflect the interest in them over time and can be used to predict the growth or decline of sales of those devices. This is not an exact science, after all people search for things when they already have them to find out tricks and tips, or out of aspiration to one day buy something. But in general, if there is more interest, there will probably be more sales. This is reflected in the same declining trend in sales as decline in searches for the iPad with peaks each year around the holiday time when they tend to sell better.
As such, we can expect that if the searches for the iPad have gone up (since the iPad Pro 2 was released) then there will be a bump in sales and that will be approximately the same as how many devices get sold. This is where things turn not so good.
What do the search figures show about iPad growth?
The figures do show a bump in searches for iPad following the release of the iPad Pro 2, but not back to the levels we saw in 2014. Instead they are hovering (or slowly declining) at the same numbers of the last couple of years. If this is accurate and the methodology holds up, then the iPad Pro 2 should sell about the same as the iPad Pro 9.7″.
That’s still significantly more than laptops and Apple’s MacBooks sell but it doesn’t look like the iPad is going to sell the numbers that it initially did for a long time if this is accurate. Time will of course tell and as an iPad power user I’ll happily be proven wrong but I’m not expecting it now. (For the record, before I did the search I expected it to show a bump and it didn’t but that is exactly why I’m reporting this, as to not report it would show bias).
After another year when iPad sales declined (yup, it happened again) despite growth in every other area, Apple has released a new set of adverts focused on the iPad and how it is different, even better than a computer. I’m sure that you can relate as an iPad has several advantages over a standard laptop or desktop (and yes, it has disadvantages in some fields too.) Have a look.
Better than a computer
Don’t hunt for Wifi
Do more with word
No PC Viruses
These really hit the iPad’s selling points, its simple, it’s incredibly portable and you can use it with or without a keyboard. The Pencil adds options you don’t have with a PC and you can use a built in cellular connection. These are things that set the iPad apart and while you could add some of these features to a laptop, it wouldn’t do them as well as an iPad.
IPad Pro Ads made for Twitter
These are all twitter ads as well, rather than ads for TV, and make an interesting use of the medium. By using real users tweet (yes, you can find the original tweets and the creators were contacted by Apple before hand) they stand out on the platform. I’d be interested to see how Apple could adapt this to the TV.
It’s interesting to see Apple take a slightly different direction from it’s previous efforts of aiming a PC replacement or the device you make a film/music on. It makes me wonder if this will stick, or if this is an experimental direction. Personally, I think this type of direction is the right way to go as it focuses on its strengths. Still, it would be nice for Apple to address a couple of issues (like the split view app selector) to help the iPad be an even better computer. One that truly is outstanding and not with legacy ideas that aren’t that great.