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Apple blames low Q2 iPad sales on inventory changes

The original iPad Air

Above: The original iPad Air

Image Credit: Dylan Tweney/VentureBeat

The iPad’s sales are still declining, but Apple’s tablet may not be in as much trouble as some may think.

In its earnings report today, Apple revealed that it sold 16.35 million iPads during the second quarter. Analysts, meanwhile, expected sales between 19.2 million and 19.7 million devices.

Due to an inventory discrepancy, Apple claims its overall decline in sales to customers was only down around 3 percent from last year, when it sold 19.5 million iPads.

Apple’s corporate controller, Luca Maestri, explained during the earnings call today that the company pushed around 18 million iPads to retail last year (which means it sold off over a million iPads from stock it had previously). For this past quarter, Apple pushed 17.5 million to retail, but it only sold 16.35 million (which left 1.1 million in unsold inventory).

But without taking these inventory issues into account, iPad sales appear to have fallen around 16 percent. That’s the number most investors and analysts will point to when they predict doom for the iPad.

However you count the iPad’s decline, it’s easy to see that things are slowing down for Apple’s beloved tablet. And it seems even Apple CEO Tim Cook is aware of that — though he appears to attribute the decline more to the iPad’s fast adoption.

“iPad has absolutely been the fastest growing product in Apple’s history,” Cook said during the earnings call today. “It’s been the only product that we’ve ever made that was instantly a hit in three of our key markets — from consumers to business, including the enterprise, and education. … If you really look at it, in just four years since we launched the very first iPad we’ve sold more than 210 million, which was more than what we thought was possible in that period of time.”

Cook pointed out that Apple sold more than twice as many iPads than iPhones during the same period of time, and iPad sales were also seven-times greater than iPod sales during its first four years.

More information:

Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

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