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Apple iPad sales slightly exceed expectations, but are down year-on-year

It’s too early to analyze the box-office performance of the spanking new iPad Air 2 and Mini 3, but their predecessors failed to shine during the fiscal quarter ending September 30.

iPad Tim Cook

When Apple came forward with a somewhat underwhelming iPad Air upgrade and a decidedly disappointing iPad mini 2 rehash, many claimed Cupertino had no reason to put more effort into improving the tablet duo.

After all, there’s no better thing than perfection. But maybe the iPads aren’t as perfect as you thought. They’re clearly not as in-demand as before, and nowhere near the incredible popularity of iPhones.

The latest sales numbers posted by Apple make that quite clear, as iPads barely notched 12.3 million unit orders between July and September 2014, whereas iPhones scored a mind-blowing 39 mil total. Granted, a first wave of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales is included in these figures, while the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 barely went up for pre-orders a couple of days back.

Still, the gap is staggering, and even more vexing for Cupertino, iPads are down from last year’s 14.1M result. Down nearly 2 million, mind you, or roughly 12 percent, which is certainly ominous for the slate family’s future.

iPad sales vs expectations

Always seeing the glass half full instead of two thirds empty, Apple CEO Tim Cook gloated over beating Wall Street’s 12 million expectations. He also insisted on the historical numbers of the iPads, which have sold in 237 million copies in a little over four years. That’s twice as impressive as the first-four-year feat of iPhones, so one mediocre quarter shouldn’t be viewed as a disaster.

And no, Cook doesn’t deem the market as “saturated”, emphasizing it’s too early to detect a definitive upgrade cycle and anticipate how demand may swing “over the long arc of time”. Let us not forget a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, possibly running both iOS and OS X, is reportedly in the works, and its debut could mark a turning point for a lineup so far centered around entertainment rather than productivity.

What do you guys think, are iPads doomed to further plunge in the near future, or is their story of success still being written?

Sources: Apple Insider, The Verge

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