CEO Tim Cook shared an interesting milestone during yesterday’s iPad mini unveiling: Apple two weeks ago sold its hundred millionth iPad. Now, hundred million of anything is enough to give you a pause, but a quick look at Apple’s SEC filings reveals that iPad sales in the September quarter were in fact slowing down. Apple sold a total of 84.12 million iPads when it closed books on the last day of the June quarter.

This means the company since June 30 and through October 9 added about 15.88 million iPads. Don’t forget this includes ten additional days of sales outside the September quarter. The figure certainly doesn’t compare favorably to June quarter’s sales of 17.57 million units. Did Apple release the iPad mini because the iPad was losing its momentum as a portion of would-be shoppers perhaps opted for cheaper tablets from Amazon and Google?

“Today, I’m thrilled to tell you that two weeks ago we sold our one hundred millionth iPad”, Cook said. The milestone caught attention of eagle-eyed Philip Elmer-DeWitt of the Fortune blog (numbers are his life):

Cook’s announcement meant that as of Oct. 9 the company had sold roughly 15.88 million iPads. Ten days earlier, when Apple closed its books on the last quarter of fiscal 2012, the number would have been even lower.

Rather than gaining momentum, as Cook had implied, the iPad was losing it.

The author contacted a bunch of analysts who as a group lowered their iPad estimates an average of 2.67 million units.

“Most also lowered their revenue and earnings estimates, an average of $1.26 billion and $0.31, respectively”, he writes.

He also made this table of before and after numbers.

Pro analysts are in blue, the independents are in green

Some factors that may have contributed to a slow down in iPad sales.

• folks held off buying an iPad due to rampant iPad mini rumors
• people were saving money for a then-unreleased new iPhone
• some gave Nexus 7 a try
• tablets don’t sell well during summer
• because of supply and production issues, Apple simply couldn’t make enough Retina iPads to meet demand

On the other hand, it never makes sense to compare quarters sequentially due to seasonalities: gadget sales peak in Q4 and cool off in Q1. On top of that, Apple has its own release schedule which aligns certain products for back-to-school.

We’ll know for sure about the above estimates when Apple releases its earnings reports after markets close tomorrow.

Assuming iPad sales disappoint, where do we go from here?

As you know, Apple’s sales pitch for the iPad mini can be summed up in this simple assumption: the iPad is a premium experience well worth the extra money. Apple’s bet is that folks are willing to spend a $130 premium to get a $329 iPad mini over a $199 Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire.

But nobody can deny that the Nexus 7 tablet with Jelly Bean software has raised the water line on Google’s platform functionality. These sub-$200 tablets have changed market dynamics and customers are paying notice now.

It’s safe to say Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire took away sales from Apple. Not all of the prospects were eyeing an iPad of course: someone in the market for a $199 tablet would hardly consider a $399 iPad 2 or a $499 iPad 3.

Here’s Google’s sales pitch.

Regardless of our feelings, truth remains that there will always be people who willingly trade smooth and worry-free user experience for a lower price. Let’s also not forget that many simply cannot afford burning more than two hundred bucks on a tablet computer.

$199 is $199.

By the way, vote here whether or not you’re planning on buying an iPad mini.

What do you think, are iPad numbers just a temporary glitch as the market re-aligns amidst stronger competition or a sign that the iPad may in fact be losing its momentum?

Should Apple be concerned?

  • ConTroller

    Go Google. Go Nexus 7. Go October 29.

    • Your mom faild

      • JT

        Well obviously your mom never taught you how to spell.

  • Lol not surprised it’s Christian writing this article. I’d say 16
    million is pretty damn good. Year over year it was probably a 75%
    increase. Going into the holiday I’m sure they’ll smash through 22

    Btw, since Google and Amazon don’t release sales figures, why are you so confident their tablets are selling well? Amazing how much credit you’re willing to give to products that are sold at cost and you have ZERO idea how many of them people are buying. But do your thing.

    • MagicDrumSticks

      Agreed. Christian is the worst of the whole staff. Let’s not forget that whole **** up he did when the galaxy s2 was out.

      • CollegiateLad

        The problem is he can’t think for himself. He just posts what others write. Sales are up year over year. Also, there’s always a dip prior to the holiday season. And lastly, they’ve sold more this year than prior years. I like how he says data suggests when it’s actually analysts expectations.

      • Kurt

        data shows more and more people are realizing apple is selling them a 2007 design over and over and over again.

  • I owned an iPad 1, 2 and 3. Sold my iPad a month ago. Bought a Nexus 7… couldn’t be happier… also, the iPad 4 coming 6 months after the iPad 3 is surely insulting to many people… Not saying the iPad sucks.. I’m just not their target user. I’m tired of the cat and mouse jailbreak game… that’s why i ditched iPad.

    • CollegiateLad

      lol… My buddy has one. No thanks. Not even in the same league.

      • ah, the infamous “buddy” who lets you touch is toy was enough to give your solid comparison? is that it? that’s awesome champ!

      • CollegiateLad

        I thought it pretty much sucked… The stretched phone apps are hilarious. I can’t remember if it had cellular connectivity… But somehow I doubt it.

      • obviously you didn’t play with a nexus 7. you’re just blowing smoke. nexus doesn’t have “stretched phone apps” (whatever that even means) nor does it have cellular. Why would a tablet need cellular? Oh, that’s right, because Apple says so even though you can simply tether to a phone.

    • Dan

      I agree and will most likely get downvoted for it. I switched from iPhone to Galaxy S3 and am loving the open environment. Not having to worry about jailbreaking is a relief. Still have an iPad 2 at the moment and I love it (and imo android tablets atm aren’t 100% up to speed), but if a good android tablet is out there when I’m ready to upgrade, I will most likely jump ship.

      • a good android tablet /is/ already available.. it’s called the nexus 7. go test drive one at best buy or frys electronics.

  • $199 for 8gb as opposed to $329 for 16gb. Should be comparing the 16gb Nexus which is $249.

    • CollegiateLad

      It’s an $80 difference for a premium product and well worth it. It’s good for clicks.

    • Yan Kar

      you mean 32 gb nexus… but than again… we are in ifan clubs…

    • thor_molecules

      He could just be making a comparison between the base models, which I feel is legitimate.

      Using your logic one could argue that the iPad still fails because even at the same storage config (16GB) the Nexus still blows the iPad away when the processor, RAM, and display are considered.

      That’s neither a vote for the Nexus nor a dig at the iPad. Just saying, if you’re going to play the specs card don’t just do it for the platform you favor.

      Do it all the way.

      • Except for the part where everyone thinks the iPad Mini is incredibly expensive because the media makes it seem like the 8gb Nexus is the equivalent of a 16gb iPad Mini. There’s a big difference between paying $130 more vs. only $80 more for the same amount of storage. And when it comes to specs, Apple products can still destroy the competition even when it seems the hardware is behind the competition. Just look at how well the iPhone 5 performs with just a dual core processor and 1gb of ram when the competition is using twice the power and still aren’t blowing it away when it easily should be.

      • thor_molecules

        You missed the point. I’m not talking real world performance, as that can vary wildly based on the test conditions.

        I’m talking pure specs (and nothing else).

      • Oh well in that case yeah the iPad Mini is lacking but that doesn’t automatically mean it fails like you said. It’s real world performance that makes a product worth the price.

      • thor_molecules


      • funny. My nexus 7 seems just as fast as my friends ipad 3… but that’s probably because the ipad3 is obsolete now. oh, this ipad 3… use to be mine. i sold it to my friend. so yea… i know what i’m talking about.

      • K buts its still not faster, several benchmarks and videos across the Internet have proven that already.

  • DomPerignon1

    Doesn’t matter how you look at this, Apple got it wrong with the iPad mini at a price of $329 and no retina display. Apple took itself out of the 7″ tablet competition.

    • yep. my nexus has a greater pixel density. but that won’t change the minds of the millions of mindless apple drones who think only in Apple’s little box.

      • CollegiateLad

        Why do you have to change their mind? Lol. Can’t they decided?

      • well, here we both assume they have minds to be changed right?

  • Xmas will kick ass

  • thor_molecules

    I’d say its probably a little of both (increased competition and growth slowing down), but there’s no way to know for sure without hard sales figures from Google and Amazon (good luck with that).

    In any case this should surprise no one. Did anyone really think that the record breaking growth of both the iPhone and iPad would continue forever?

  • Kevin

    This site has been going downhill in the past couple of years. The editors are desperate for reader comments, as evident with an obligatory question at the end of EVERY article. Most of the time the question doesn’t flow with the article and is just a sad attempt to gain traffic and reader involvement.

    • notewar

      Almost every time I just skip to the comment and read your guys reflection,more useful than most article sometime. But the only 2 types of article that I’d never skip in IDB are iPhotography and “New jailbreak released”!! = )

  • What is self-evident is that the “purported dip” in iPad sales was mostly due to iPad Mini rumors and iPhone 5 – not due to Google or Amazon as you point out. Apple did kick itself out of the 7″ league with a $329 price tag but it’s onto something. It’s
    creating a new market for a new audience that’s willing to shell out a little more for a product frm Apple rather than from Google or Samsung.

  • under capitalism humans are soo greedy that even record breaking performance will be called negative is is slows a little bit..