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New study shines light on a big problem for Apple’s iPad business

Published May 22nd, 2024 1:22PM EDT
M4 iPad Pro wallpaper
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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According to a CIRP report, Apple customers usually wait at least three years to upgrade to a new iPad model. Now, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners discovered that compared to iPhone users, iPad customers just hang on to their old devices, which might be a problem for Apple’s iPad business.

That said, while a minority of users are looking for reasons to upgrade to the M4 iPad Pro, some are just hanging on second-hand iPad models.

In the 12 months ending March 2024, 67% of repeat iPad buyers kept an old one, either by giving it to a family member or friend or simply retaining it. For comparison, only 41% of iPhone buyers kept or handed down their old iPhones.

What iPad users do with their old devices?Image source: CIRP

While iPhone users are eager to upgrade their devices more often, it’s interesting that they usually opt to trade in for a new model. In contrast, iPad users just keep them (36%), give their tablets to a family member or friend (31%), or buy a new model because they lost, broke, or had the device stolen (23%).

CIRP says the data suggests “old iPads are quite usable and useful, so retiring them, even in favor of a new model with enhanced features, may not feel urgent.”

The research notes that the secondary market for refurbished iPads is less robust than for iPhones or that customers find more value in keeping an old iPad than monetizing it.

I would love to say otherwise, but I feel represented by those CIRP reports. It’s been a while since I last upgraded to a new iPad. While thinking about getting the M4 iPad Pro, I found myself surrounded by older models I was either offering for family members or ultimately just keeping for no reason. Why is it so hard to let go of old iPads? And why does Apple offer such low trade-ins for them?

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.