Apple’s iPad business has been nothing short of rock solid the last few years, but the last two quarters have really been something. Yesterday’s quarterly results report was expected to be good, but the reality was better than anyone outside Cupertino expected.
For a little context before getting to the new numbers, during what Apple calls its 1st Quarter of 2021 (actually October through December of 2020 on the calendar), the iPad line brought in over $8 billion dollars. That was up both year over year and quarter over quarter. Bear in mind that this quarter included the 2020 Christmas shopping season.
Today, Apple announced that the iPad lineup raked in $7.8 billion during Q2 of 2021. That’s another very impressive number, especially when compared to Refinitiv’s revenue estimate of $5.58 billion (as reported by CNBC) before the earnings report. Even more eye-catching is the whopping 78.9% increase in sales during Q2 year over year.
While that $7.8 billion revenue figure for Q2 is actually down slightly quarter over quarter, bear in mind that the previous quarter included holiday shopping and a chunk of new iPad and iPad Air sales not long after their releases last fall. Without a new device release, Q2 would normally be a down period for the iPad.
Apple CFO Luca Maestri had even better news during the earnings call. 50% of new iPad and Mac sales were to new users. That’s HUGE. Upgrades from longtime iPad owners are great and Apple will take that money all day but expanding your market and user base is how you grow and expand the reach of a product. It’s been a while since Apple’s tablet biz has grown significantly, so this is worth keeping an eye on over the rest of the year to see if there is a continuing upward trend.
The iPad didn’t just look good in a vacuum yesterday, either. Apple’s tablets also performed well vs the Mac last quarter. While the Mac line outgained Apple’s tablet biz head-to-head with an also impressive $9.10 billion in sales, that’s not the whole story.
We don’t know official sales numbers anymore thanks to Apple getting tired of analysts freaking out over them and messing with the stock price. However, we do know that the average price of an iPad sale is a few hundred dollars less than the average Mac purchase. The base model iPad starts at $329 and is often on sale for even less than that. This happens to be one of the most popular iPad models and this price is significantly lower than any Mac product. It will be interesting to see what analysts say about estimated unit sales, but I’m guessing the iPad line won the units sold battle handily based on the information we do have.
However you look at these Q2 numbers, the iPad is in its best position in years right now. You have two new powerhouse models about to be released on the heels of two big revenue quarters in a row. Next up after that, we have WWDC coming up in less than two months, when we get to see all of the new goodies coming in iPadOS 15.
If you are an iPad user, sales this strong two quarters in a row is very good news. Apple’s current direction with the platform is obviously resonating with customers. The payoff for existing users is that continued healthy iPad sales mean more attention will be paid to the platform and more investment made in it going forward.
As some of us prepare to preorder a new iPad Pro, it’s good to know that we’re about to buy a product that has a bright future and is part of a growing business. Here’s hoping that better than expected iPad Pro sales propel Q3 iPad numbers even higher.