Back in August, Apple became the most valuable company in United States history, with a market capitalization of $623.52 billion, surpassing Microsoft’s previous record of $618.9 billion, which it set way back in December 1999. The company was sitting on top of the world.
Since, then, though, things have not gone well, with shares dipping below $500 two weeks ago for the first time since February 2012. Apple shares have fallen 31% since its record high in September, and its market cap has shriveled from $663 billion to $457 billion—that’s $206 billion gone in four months, more than Yelp, Facebook, eBay, LinkedIn and Yahoo's market caps combined.
So what do you do if you are Apple in this situation? Why, you do what you do best: debut another product to distract the world from your growing problems.
Apple will begin selling a 128GB version of the fourth generation iPad with Retina display on February 5, it was announced Tuesday.
The new 128GB iPad will be available in either black or white, and will come in two models: one with only Wi-Fi that will retail for $799 and a model with Wi-Fi + Cellular that will retail for $929. They will be sold through the Apple Online Store, Apple retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.
The new models will provide twice the storage capacity of the previous high storage option of 64GB.
“With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and everyday they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said in a statement. “With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs.”
Apple announced the release of the fourth generation iPad in October. It has a 9.7-inch Retina display, Apple-designed A6X chip, FaceTime HD camera and iOS 6.1.
Disappointing iPad sales
Whatever reason Apple gives for releasing this new iPad, at least part of it has to do with recent sales for the tablet coming in lower than expected.
In its most recent quarterly report, Apple earnings came in lower than expected. The company grossed $54.5 billion in revenue, which came in just shy of the $54.6 billion in revenue that Wall Street was anticipating. Net profit was mixed, coming in at $13.1 billion or $13.81 per share, while Wall Street consensus had profit pegged at $13.35 per share.
Part of the reason for the lower numbers were disappointing iPad sales. Apple sold 22.9 million units, compared to the 27.3 million Bernstein Research was expecting.
This was the second quarter in a row where iPad sales came in low. In its Q4 earnings report in October, the company ended up only selling 14 million units, while many were expecting to see 17-18 million units sold.
Initial sales of the iPad Mini in late October were also disappointing, even if Apple did try to cover that up by combining sales numbers with the fourth generation iPad.
It certainly seems as though the iPad is beginning to flag. Will releasing an even more expensive version, albiet with double the storage capacity, be the solution?
Probably not since, as NBCNews points out, the $929 128GB iPad will cost consumers nearly as much a base MacBook Air model.
(Image source: http://www.pocket-lint.com)