On Wednesday, Apple released some huge quarterly sales numbers for what they call the first quarter of 2021, but most of us recognize as the 4th quarter of 2020 by the calendar. They beat every expectation that the street held and set records for revenue. Every product category was up, some by really surprising amounts. It felt as close to the late 2000s and early 2010s, when every quarter successive quarter brought news like this, as we can get today.
There was additional Apple sales news yesterday of a more specific nature. The company stopped officially releasing device sales numbers a few years ago, but that certainly hasn’t stopped analysts from projecting them for us by various means.
Eleven years ago today, Steve Jobs walked out on stage and continued a string of huge hardware hits that went back over a decade by that point. He announced the original iPad and in one fell swoop, changed the tablet business forever.
Apple just reported an unexpectedly huge 3rd quarter overall, with revenue up 10.9% year over year. Earnings-wise, it’s actually the biggest third quarter in company history. Revenue and sales increased pretty much across the board, including iPhone sales, making Apple the only company that saw an increase in smartphone sales last quarter,
All of that aside, it was the iPad that saw the biggest increase of all year over year, with sales up a whopping 31%. That’s a significant increase, especially on the heels of two straight quarters of declining revenues.
While shipments of all tablets, including Apple’s iPads, were down over the first quarter of 2020, Digitimes Research is predicting a big rebound coming up. We should know more about the last three months after Apple announces its earnings later today, but what’s coming up sounds pretty exciting for iPad users and fans.
I noticed an article at analyst site Seeking Alpha last week that caught my eye. It was titled Apple’s Accelerating Tablet Dominance Is Underappreciated and it went over several points that Apple’s tablet lineup now has in its favor. Writer Zvi Bar makes some pretty convincing arguments, but does it matter?
Apple was doomed. Then they set stock records and became the most valuable company in the world. Then the price fell and they were doomed again. We were assured that they couldn’t innovate anymore. Then Phil Schiller told us Apple “can’t innovate my ass” (ironically while announcing a computer that would go three years without an update).
Twitter provided some very good omens on iPad sales over the Christmas holiday. As Apple 2.0 reports, the phrase ‘got iPad’ is top of the tablet charts by a huge margin for the Christmas period.
I used the same Topsy Analytics service that Apple 2.0 did and entered various tablet names including Google’s Nexus 7 as well. Here’s the results for the search I did using got iPad / kindle / surface for December 1 – December 31:
If my calculator app is right, that puts the tweets for the Surface at about 0.03% of those for the iPad. You could almost says it takes some ‘real work’ to see a percentage that small.
Also, I couldn’t resist sharing this tweet from the Surface timeline for these search results:
Looks like the iPad’s consumer appeal is still going strong, at least according to a report by retail analytics company Infoscout covering top selling items on Black Friday at 3 leading US retailers.
As Apple Insider reports, An iPad was the top selling product at two out of the three major US retailers covered by the report – the 16GB iPad mini was the Number 1 selling item at Walmart, while the 16GB iPad Air was Number 1 at Target. In fact at Target the top three sports were all iPad – with 16GB iPad mini and 32GB iPad Air in the 2nd and 3rd spots.
At Best Buy the older iPad 2 was at the number 2 spot, trailing the Microsoft Surface RT. It’s more than a little shocking to see a Surface surface in the report – although it was selling at a heavily discounted price.
Throw in sales at Apple’s own retail outlets and online store and it seems like the iPad may have had quite a good holiday weekend.
A post at the NPD DisplaySearch blog predicts that smaller tablets are set to take over in 2013, and that the iPad mini will far outsell the iPad.
The January panel shipment data may be an indicator for 2013, starting with Apple’s product mix shift. As we noted in December, Apple had planned to sell 40M iPad minis (7.9”) and 60M iPads (9.7”) in 2013. However, the reality seems to be the reverse, as the iPad mini has been more popular than the iPad. We now understand that Apple may be planning to sell 55M iPad minis (7.9”) and 33M iPads (9.7”) in 2013.
I don’t find this sort of prediction very surprising. Like many others, I was initially a bit skeptical about how compelling a device the iPad mini would be, especially once we learned it would not have a retina display. But within just a couple days of using one I was already wondering how much use my ‘big’ iPad would get. As it turns out, my usage pattern between the two of them is probably around 80-20 in favor of the iPad mini now.
For me, the wonderful lightness and form factor of the iPad mini more than compensate for the (current) lack of retina display. I know many others have found the same to be true – and they start realizing it within 5 minutes of picking up the iPad mini. And, as I said in my review of the iPad mini, when it gets a retina display it will be damn close to the perfect device.
What do you all think? Do you agree that the iPad mini will likely outsell the iPad by a wide margin this year?
Wow, here’s a table you don’t expect to see. It shows Apple as the clear leader in global PC shipments, by a clear margin. As 9to5Mac reports, the latest Q2 2012 data from Canalys shows Apple with a little over 21 million shipments for a 19% share of the world market, ahead of HP who have around 13.5 million shipments for a 12.5% share.
This data includes what Canalys calls ‘pads’ so the iPad is by far and away the biggest portion of the Apple numbers. If Canalys’ Q2 matches up to Apple’s financial Q3 reported just recently, we know that 17 million iPads and 4 million Macs were sold – which matches up nicely with the numbers above. Counting iPads as PCs doesn’t seem outrageous either, particularly with Microsoft calling their upcoming Surface a PC and a tablet.
It’s incredible to think that two and a half years ago the first iPad hadn’t even hit the streets yet – and now its sales outstrip all PCs sold total by any PC manufacturer last quarter.
I’m not normally one for listening to talks held with financial analysts, even when Apple are involved – but I was interested to tune in to the stream of Tim Cook’s talk at yesterday’s Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. I’d heard that he had quite a bit to say about the iPad during this talk so I listened to it this morning.
I’m very glad I did – partly because Cook had some very interesting things to say about the iPad, and also because it made me appreciate Cook much more as a speaker. Here are a few things Cook said about the iPad that stood out for me:
On iPad sales reaching 55 million in well under two years on the market:
To put it in context, it took us 22 years to sell 55 million Macs; it took us about five years to sell 22 million iPods, it took us three years to sell that many iPhones. As you said it’s on a trajectory that’s off the charts.
He notes that it’s being used by his mother, who took to it with ease; it’s being used by his trainer at the gym he goes to in the morning, it’s being used heavily in education and in the enterprise.
And so from my point of view it’s the fastest adoption across a wide range that I’ve ever seen.