5 May

iPad Culture in New Zealand

The iPad is often seen to be the best tablet on the market, although these days it is a very saturated market and there are many users and companies that will dispute that statement. Many also state that the iPad was the first tablet computer to be released, but the truth is that Microsoft had been there many years before, only their attempt flopped, to say the least. What can be said is that the iPad was the device that introduced the world to the tablet, the device that kick-started a trend that currently sees tens of millions of tablet computers sold every year around the world, and one that has led to a modern phenomenon, with tablets now more popular for using the internet and playing games than desktop PCs.


The first iPad was released in 2010, and within 4 years, with several more devices released along the way, it had sold over 200 million units. These were sold around the world, but Apple’s grip on the market and its work with advertising, product placement and marketing have given it a prominent place in the English speaking world, which means that it leads the way in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and, of course, New Zealand.


The iPad was first introduced to New Zealand on July 23, 2010, which was more than 3 months after it had been released in the United States. This was a long wait and New Zealanders were understandably frustrated with this, seeing how popular these devices became in other countries, and being unable to purchase one of them themselves. This led to some initial animosity and when the iPad finally landed there were many who had already turned their backs on it and on Apple, but they had enough of a following from the iPhone, and enough curiosity from technology fans to create an initial wave of interest. Once that wave spread then more people joined in.

Before the iPad came to New Zealand, it had already sold more than a million units elsewhere, with more than 300,000 sold on the first day of release alone, with many people queuing for hours on end outside shops just to get their hands on them. Roughly a year after its release the iPad 2 was released, and they had created enough interest for many users of the first iPad to purchase the second, even though it offered very little in terms of an upgrade, and still had a rather hefty price tag.


In 2012, with the fourth generation iPad being released all over the world, Apple also announced the iPad Mini, and this is where their fan base really grew in New Zealand and around the world. Not only was the iPad Mini cheaper, but it was also small and therefore much more mobile, it gave many users exactly what they had wanted, with many saying that the only reason they hadn’t bought an iPad was because it was too big and too heavy. The iPad Mini was someway in between the iPhone and the iPad; perfect for many customers.


The iPad was very cumbersome and although it was marketed as a mobile device, few people used it as such. The iPad Mini was a true mobile device though and allowed Apple to compete with rivals who had copied their initial iPad release by creating smaller and more lightweight devices of their own. By copying those that had initially copied them, Apple were able to get a stranglehold on the market in New Zealand, and today they lead the way, making more money than any other company. Considering that releasing their products in this country seemed like an afterthought more than anything else, especially when you consider how late they were to release the first iPad and to push out subsequent devices, it is amazing, and testament to the power and the reach of Apple, that they have managed to dominate this market.


In March 2015 it was announced that the profits of Apple Sales New Zealand, who handle the local sales of the Apple brand, had increased by nearly 50%. This was from sales totalling close to $570 million, the profit from which was around $15 million. These sales figures were up from the previous year, albeit only by about $10 million. This is a very small profit margin, but a vast sum of their turnover went on buying inventory, whilst they also paid significant amounts of tax, dividends and more.


This is a company that leads the way in many saturated markets. It is in an unenviable position of having the sort of turnover and assets that a small country would be proud of. In fact, if New Zealand were to take all of the assets owned by Apple, they could use the money gained to pay off all of their external debit, which is money owed to other countries, an amount that exceeds $200 billion. This is a staggering amount, and one that eclipses the assets of many countries, let alone companies, but it is also one that continues to grow.