Mobile

Apple's iPad sales secret? It's all business

Apple has shipped 7.5 million iPads since it launched in April, turning it into the largest player in the tablet computer market. The company grabbed that position in just six months thanks to its focus on a single device and surprising contributions from enterprise sales, Apple executives said on its quarterly conference call to discuss earnings.

Apple sold 4.19 million iPads in its most recent quarter, and 3.27 million iPads in the quarter before that. About two-thirds of the 100 largest companies in the world on the Fortune 100 list have begun deploying iPads for enterprise use, leading to a lot of growth in the corporate sector that has helped drive iPad sales, said Tim Cook, chief operating officer of Apple. Nearly 85 percent of those companies have also deployed the iPhone for enterprise use, he said.

“I’ve never seen an adoption rate on the enterprise side like this in my life. Enterprise is historically much slower moving on adoption,” he said. “We have built and are building additional capacity to call on businesses, and we’re putting a lot of energy into that — we aren’t treating this lightly or as a hobby.”

More than 10 percent of all mobile devices activated for enterprise purposes, outside of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices, were iPads, according to a recent report by Good Technology. The iPhone 4 accounted for about 30 percent of all enterprise devices activated as well, according to the same report.

Jobs also told analysts on the call that Apple has no plans to develop a 7-inch version of the iPad, because it would lead to the same kind of fragmentation that Android app developers are facing. Rumors had earlier surfaced that Apple would begin working on a 7-inch tablet with a lower price point than its current 10-inch offering.

“We don’t think about it that way, the reason we wouldn’t make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit a price point,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. “It’s because we don’t think you can make a great tablet with a 7-inch screen.”

Apple has still struggled a bit to meet the ravenous demand for the device. It isn’t clear when the supply of iPads will finally meet the demand for Apple’s tablet, Cook said. Despite that, Apple is going to sell the device in Wal-mart and Verizon stores.

“I feel great to bring the supply and sales up from an 8 million number and expect it to reach 14 million,” Cook said. “Obviously working on that, but it will take some time to increase further.”

[Front page photo: Yutaka Tsutano]

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