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"I am still bullish on iPad." That's what Apple CEO Tim Cook said about the iPad to investment analysts during the 2015 Q3 earnings report. Mr. Cook mentioned business initiatives with iBM, the new UI features of iOS 9 that showcase the iPad's capabilities and the fact that the consumer upgrade cycle "will eventually occur." That may well be the most important factor as customers discover that their three year old iPads really do need upgrading.
Mr. Cook also noted that the iPad market share isn't particularly large in many markets, and that provides "plenty of headway." That could well be CEO-speak to the sales force that they're not doing their jobs in terms of market penetration. No pressure.
Mr. Cook spent a lot of time talking about the iPad in his responses to analyst questions, knowing there would be a fuss about the sales of 10.9 million units compared to the previous quater's 12.6 million and a generally declining trend. (See chart below.)
However, Mr. Cook doesn't seem ready to give up, given that Apple has launched several projects to fix the situation, and it's likely too early to write off those initiatives. One of those, of course, left unmentioned is the almost certain (rumored) iPad Pro. See, for example, "Apple’s iPad Pro Will Be an Evolutionary Product."
Once again, however, rather than address the issues in his opening statement, Mr. Cook left it to CFO Luca Maestri to describe some of the iPad highlights.
Notable were comments about iPad customer metrics being extremely positive for iPad Air 2 and the percentage (50 percent) of those planning to purchase a tablet in the next 90 days would select iPad. That number rose to 70 percent for corporate buyers. Mr. Maestri also quoted NPD in relation to the market share of 76 percent of (U.S. Market) those tablets priced over $200.
Also mentioned was the success of of providing United Airlines pilots with about 10,000 iPads extending in the future to 20,000 flight attendants.
While much of this discussion was intended to put a good face on the current, disappointing data, it was equally clear that Apple is taking steps to improve the situation. Just how that will pan out remains to be seen.
Mr. Cook responded to a CitiBank analyst about the future of the iPad. "I see a lot of runway." In Cook-speak, that could well mean, "I despise failure."