Almost everything was great for #Apple in the first three months of the year, except for iPad sales. Consumers are buying fewer iPads every quarter, and this time unit sales fell 23%, compared with the same period of last year. Apple barely touched the subject at the conference call after the earnings release, but did stress that the iconic tablet turns five this month.
The company's chief financial officer, Luca Maestri, said they sold 12,6 million units in the March quarter, compared to 16,4 million in 2014. "We had record sales in Japan and China, other markets were more muted," he admitted. Maestri also pointed to a recent report from NPD saying the iPad maintains its leadership, and indicated Apple is working with companies like DocuSign and Microstrategy to make it more relevant among professionals. "We're seeing very high interest from companies who want to use iPads to transform how work gets done," he added.
Gartner's analyst Van L. Baker is sceptical about those corporate buyers, but doesn't think the iPad is in peril. "A lot of people believed that the lifecycle for iPads would be similar to iPhones and that was a mistake, because iPads for the most part are not subsidised devices, so for as long as it continues to perform acceptably users are not going to feel the pressure to upgrade," he tells Blasting News.
Speculation about a 12-inch "super iPad" for companies has abounded, but the company might have scrapped those plans for now, as it deals with large inventories and slowing sales. "It's likely they will offer a bigger screened iPad for the enterprise at some point in time, but it's hard to point out when," Mr. Baker says.
On the other hand, consumers are changing. "I do think phablets or the larger screen phones are definitely putting pressure on the tablet market." It's not only on Apple, though: Gartner predicts the market will grow this year, but at a much slower pace, around 8% to 233 million units. Double-digit increases are a thing of the past, with signs of an already mature market. #iPhone