Sorry Apple, Old Man iPad 2 is Still Your Most Popular Tablet

By Gerald Lynch on at

You can stuff your mini form factors and Retina displays -- when it comes to Apple's iPads, the three and a half year old iPad 2 remains the company's most popular tablet.

That's according to research from Localytics, which ahead of tonight's expected iPad Air 2 launch took a look at user figures relating to 100 million iPad and iPhone devices. It found that of all the different iPad generations available, 27 per cent of users have stuck with the iPad 2. That's followed by the original iPad Mini, with 20 per cent of users.

It's unsurprising really -- savvy tech buyers never buy the first generation of a gadget, and the second generation was a marked improvement. It also had the longest shelf life of all iPads so far, and enjoyed a price cut that made it for a long time (until the introduction of the Mini) the cheapest Apple tablet going.

It does highlight a hurdle that Apple will have to overcome with its iPad range going forward though. It's positioned its tablets as laptop alternatives, and very few people feel the need to upgrade their laptops once a year. Whereas network contracts keep smartphone users on an upgrade cycle, many tablets are bought untethered to a network, further removing the incentive to upgrade. For many, the iPad 2 was their tablet entry point, and it still does the job admirably. With slimmer bodies and sharper screens clearly not attracting the more casual tablet owner, Apple will need to pull something really special out of the bag tonight if its tablet line is to have a mainstream hit again.

The research also gave some insight into how iPhone and iPad use differs. It's pretty obvious in many respects -- iPhone sessions, typically in use when out-and-about, are shorter than iPad sessions at 5.2 minutes compared to 6.4 minutes. With iPhones sitting in their owner's pockets all day long whereas the tablets usually live at home, iPhone apps are launched 36 per cent more often than their tablet alternatives. [TUAW]