The demand for Apple’s iPad has been waning over the past six month as rivals such as Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Samsung Electronics have introduced tablets that offer similar features at lower prices. Sales of iPads fell from the previous year for the first time during Apple’s quarter ending in late June and then rose by less than 1 percent in the latest quarter ending in late September.
That has raised questions whether the iPad is already losing its luster less than four years after the device’s release turned the tablet computer into a hot product.
Apple Inc. is hoping this Friday’s release of the thinner, lighter iPad Air, followed by a souped-up version of the iPad Mini, will spur sales. In response to an analyst’s question during a Monday conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook made it clear he will be disappointed if iPad sales during the current quarter ending in late December aren’t substantially above the nearly 23 million units sold at the same time last year.
QUESTION: Just broader thinking around the iPad, we’ve seen fluctuations in the growth rate. How do you think about that segment in terms of drawing at or above or below market growth rates on tablets?
ANSWER: We continue to view the tablet market as huge. We see it as a large opportunity for us. We are not solely focused on unit share. As I have said many times, we’re focused on usage and customer set and loyalty and other things that are very important to us …. The announcement last week was our largest iPad announcement ever. And we’re confident we’re going to grow year-over-year …. I think it’s going to be an iPad Christmas.