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IPad mini's first weekend: apparently not so hot

Apple boasts of "record" sales for iPad mini and iPad 4, but vagueness belies disappointing numbers

Financial trends and news by Faith Merino
November 5, 2012 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2b71

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.  Apple announced Monday that it saw a record-breaking weekend for iPad sales, selling three million iPad minis and the updated fourth generation iPad combined (can we just start calling it the iPad 4 for brevity’s sake?).  The sales trounce the opening weekend of the third generation iPad, which sold 1.5 million units back in March.

The problem is that Apple isn’t sharing the real numbers.  It’s combining sales of two tablets and comparing them to the opening weekend of one tablet, which can only mean that the numbers fell below expectations. 

Additionally, Apple is comparing the sales of the two tablets to sales of the Wi-Fi iPad 3, but the iPad 3 debuted in its opening weekend with Wi-Fi and cellular versions, so sales actually topped three million in its first weekend.

A few analysts weighed in last Friday to throw out some projections for the iPad mini’s first weekend.  Piper Jaffray predicted sales in the 1-1.5 million range, while Topeka Capital Markets estimated 800K-1 million units sold. 

Walter Piecyk of BTIG noted that “Apple’s first weekend sales of the iPad mini needs, at a minimum, to top the three million first weekend sales of the iPad 3 in order to demonstrate that the management team can execute on ramping supply of new products and to provide some evidence that there is adequate demand for a smaller iPad at these price points.”

Apple has not responded to inquiries from VatorNews regarding how many of each tablet were sold last weekend, but if Apple only sold 1.5 million iPad minis, then there wouldn’t be much to brag about. 

“Customers around the world love the new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a statement. “We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis. We're working hard to build more quickly to meet the incredible demand.” 

The operative word here is “practically.”  Apple wouldn’t need to be vague if iPad mini sales had been above 1.5 million.  Nevertheless, JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz believes the statement to be indicative of heavier iPad mini sales than iPad 4 sales.

“We think that three million Wi-Fi-only iPads (iPad mini and 4th-gen iPad) in the first weekend is a significant milepost as Apple continues its global rollout,” wrote Moskowitz in a research note Monday.  “We believe the record shipment number should silence the bears that were skeptical after the base model pricing of the iPad mini at $329 came in higher than expected.”

Moskowitz also noted that the cellular versions of the iPad mini and the iPad 4 should see pretty high sales figures as well. 

To be fair to Apple, there were a couple of factors working against it during this launch.  For one thing, it just released the New iPad (iPad 3) in March, for God’s sake.  Obviously, Apple wanted to get the iPad mini out before the start of the holiday season, but sales are going to be pretty irregular if you have irregular mid-year launches.  Secondly, Apple released two tablets at the same time.  Granted, they’re more or less different products—the people who buy the iPad mini probably aren’t the same people buying the “big” iPad (iPad maxi?).  But still, there must’ve been some cannibalization… I can’t help but wonder if the iPad mini sales would’ve been higher if it had been released on its own.

So this must be why Amazon doesn’t release sales figures for any of its Kindle Products. 

Apple shares were up .79% Monday morning to $581 after falling precipitously to $576 from $596 on Friday.

 

Image source: marketwatch.com


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