Why Apple’s iPad Sales for Q2 Were so Poor

Apple’s iPad sales for the Q2 were disappointing, but that may reflect a customer savvy not seen before in the Apple world. When I say disappointing, I’m referring to the professional consensus for iPad sales of about 6.26 million.

Previously, my own estimate was that Apple would report sales of 9+ million iPads for the last quarter. That was based on Christmas momentum and the popularity of the iPad 1. I used Apple’s own aggressive goal of selling 40 millon iPads in 2011. That’s 3.33 million per month.

However, it appears that Apple customers, right after Christmas, became very savvy about Apple’s plans for the iPad 2. Tim Cook reminded everyone in the Q2 Earnings Report that invitations to the iPad 2 event went out in late February, and every celebrity, every writer, every website, every blogger was in ecstasy thinking about the iPad 2 because, for one reason or another, they had passed on the original iPad.

In fact, for Apple’s sales of all iPads for the quarter to have been only 4.69 million suggests that iPad 1 sales fell off a sharp cliff in January, February and especially early March. I didn’t expect that because, in my experience, most Apple customers go about their business blissfully unaware of Apple’s plans for new products. But not those wanting the iPad 2. Not this product, and not this time.

That awareness, in contrast to the Macintosh world, suggests that iPad customers are much more keenly aware of Apple’s product plans. It reflects a new consumer connection to Apple, and that’s got to be good.

I expect, in the coming quarters, iPad sales will bounce back to previous levels. Tim Cook reported that he is confident that, in the short term, supply can meet demand. And that’s quite a statement, considering the iPad has seen, as he said, “the mother of all backlogs.”