This year's annual back-to-school promotion from Apple — an offering eagerly anticipated by a significant number of tech-obsessed students — includes the iPhone 6s and iPad Pro.
The annual campaign of the Cupertino-headquartered company began last month as the company handed over Beats headsets to Mac buyers. Many suspected that the inclusion of items such as the iPhone 6s and iPad Pro in the promotion is due to a significant drop in sales. Neither device was part of the last year's campaign.
Back-to-school sales are vital for any consumer technology vendor, and Apple is no exception. As Gregg Keizer of Computer World noted, summer promotions are the second-most important season after Christmas:
"It does matter for PC sellers in general, but it is also a big deal for Apple. It is also a difficult period for Apple – June, July, and August – because everyone is waiting for the new iPhone."
The back-to-school season has been a fruitful period for Apple in terms of sales. The corporate's promo strategy to attract customers includes offering a series of products with free "Beats" wireless headphones. Starting from the last month, anyone who purchased a Mac, iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, or iPad Pro took advantage of the deal. Educational discounts also apply to the iPad Pro and Mac devices starting from $20 on an iPad Pro, $50 on a MacBook and MacBook Air, and $100 on a MacBook Pro. The biggest discount of $300 is for the most expensive product — the Mac Pro desktop.
According to Carolina Milanesi, a principal analyst at market research group Creative Strategies, Apple chose not to add iPhones and iPads to its back-to-school promotion last year because their sales were relatively strong. Therefore, the tech giant had yet to realize that the falling numbers in iPad Pro sales were more than a temporary phase:
"The reality of iPad sales really had not sunk in as much as it has now. Apple believed that the iPad's lifecycle was a bit longer than the iPhone and that eventually customers would upgrade. However, that has not happened."
At a first glance, it seems that Apple misinterpreted the replacement cycle of their tablet products, taking for granted that they would be the same as their "iPhone" lineup, writes Rachel Ranosa of The Tech Times. However, the timeframe between the upgrades is significantly longer and many Apple consumers who purchased an iPad never planned to upgrade it in the first place.
In the second quarter of the current year, Apple experienced a 10-million unit drop year over year in iPhone purchases, down to 51.2 million from 61.2 million in 2015. Techpinions reported that iPad sales decreased to 10.2 million units compared to 12.6 million the year before, Milanesi estimated.
Another possible explanation for the huge summer discounts on all models in the 2015-2016 iPhone 6 and 6S product line could be that Apple is actually "clearing the path" for the launch of the long-anticipated iPhone 7, Econtimes suggested. Although a date is not yet confirmed, the new iPhone will likely be released in September.