Fresh Off The Block


Apple claim “record-breaking” new iPad launch sales; won’t say which device sold more

In a rather bullish release yesterday (5th November), Apple announced that in the week of the iPad Mini's launch, both it and the iPad 4 amassed a total of three million sales in just three days, doubling the 1.5 million sales of the iPad 3 in its first weekend in March.

CEO Tim Cook called the sales "record-breaking", adding: “We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis."

However, close analysis of the figures reveals some hidden details. At the time of the iPad 3's launch, Apple only targeted 12 countries in the launch window; the new devices target 34. Given a near-200% increase in market size from launch, a significant increase in sales is only expected.

In addition, while the iPad 3's launch was a single device, the iPad Mini's launch introduces two products at the same time. Interestingly, Apple's announcement offers no breakdown of sales for the individual devices, rather treating both as almost a single entity. Many analysts are taking this as a sign that the iPad Mini is, as many had predicted, a slow burner which is not yet drawing much interest; though it is hard to say for sure, as in absence of a breakdown it is impossible to state for certain whether the predicted "1 to 1.5 million" sales of the Mini were in fact achieved – and given the reports of a lack of queues for the new device (unusual for an Apple product launch) and constant rumours of high return rates, there's always the possibility that this is simply an attempt to hide potential embarrassment to the company.

In all cases, it was the WiFi-only version of the tablet that went on sale. Cellular versions of both products will hit the stores in a few weeks. Given that early Apple customers tend to be those who care more for a device's specifications than its price, in the absence of a breakdown the likely assumption is Apple may be keeping its hold in the top end of the market where the iPad 4 sits, but failing to make a dent in the cheaper 7 inch tablet market where they want to make an impact. What do you think?