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iPad refresh cycle more closely resembles a Mac than an iPhone

A new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners indicates that the refresh cycle on the iPad is more similar to the Mac than it is to the iPhone. In other words, consumers tend to buy and hold onto iPads much longer than they do iPhones.

The chart below illustrates how the lifespan of an iPad is a function of its its primary use.

The report, which was initially highlighted by Philip Elmer-DeWitt over at Fortune, offers up the following conclusion:

We think Apple would prefer the iPad become a big iPhone," the report concludes. "We suspect, though, based on recent CIRP data about how buyers use them, that it's as much like a Mac, TV, or iPod, with less frequent replacement.

Makes sense. Though the iPhone is heavily subsidized and thus is often accompanied by a 2-year contract, the low buy-in point relative to a tablet makes an iPhone upgrade every two years appears much more affordable than buying a new tablet every two years.

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