Apple quietly announced
a new iPad today. The new 9.7-inch device will replace the iPad Air 2 and complete the company’s tablet lineup next to the more powerful iPad Pro and the smaller iPad mini 4. The fact that Apple
chose to introduce the heir to the 2010 original iPad by means of a press release is a testament to where the tablet currently stands in Apple’s pecking order.
When the iPad made its debut in 2010, it was supposed to be the next big thing. And for a while, it looked like it could deliver on that promise. The device got off to a great start
and by its second year on the market, it already accounted for nearly 20 percent of Apple’s revenue. After peaking in 2013, iPad sales started to erode though, as the market matured and large-screen smartphones ate away at tablet demand.
In the most recent quarter, the iPad accounted for no more than 7 percent of Apple’s revenue, despite it being a holiday quarter when iPad sales should be strong. Once the second most important driver of Apple’s success, the tablet division is now playing fourth fiddle to the iPhone, Mac and Services divisions.