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iPad Sales Go Crazy

Apple's financial results were announced today - you'll find plenty of discussion on what they mean and some meaningless analysis of how the stock market has reacted on plenty of sites. However the impressive takeaway from the call was the sheer volume of iPads that shipped over the holidays.

In the 91 day period covered by the call Apple chipped close to 23 million iPads of various models, or to put it another way a quarter of a million of the things each and every day. I'm guessing that even with Amazon and Google posting gangbusters on Nexus and Kindle tablet sales this is going to amount to a bounce in Apple's tablet share, which has fallen in consecutive quarters.

Whilst Apple didn't break down the split of iPad models that were sold its pretty easy to guess where all that growth came from. Overall Apple's revenue grew by a significant chunk in quarter, but profits only slightly so. The net result was a fairly drastic fall in margin (45% to 38%). The only product that Apple has introduced which has anything approaching a slim margin is the iPad Mini - so only a huge proportion of Mini sales can explain the margin reduction.

The markets have been spooked by Apple's numbers - but frankly who cares how that gambling den views the change. The launch of the iPad Mini was a master stroke by Tim Cook. Had Apple not had a smaller tablet on the shelves over Xmas it's highly likely that the majority of those buyers would have gone elsewhere. Imagine how high sales could have gone had the supply chain for the Mini not been constrained!

There are problems at Apple - the iPhone 5 is a so-so product and struggling in the face of the competition, those record numbers notwithstanding; the Maps fiasco still hurts and Mac and iPod sales are falling rapidly. Apple needs to make 2013 a year of innovation to secure its long term position, however Tim Cook seems to have a steady, if less showy, hand on the tiller.


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