Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

Summary: Sales for Apple's iPad 2 fell short of expectations, according to a new report. Did it come too soon?

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You know what we haven't seen recently? Any press releases from Cupertino touting sales figures for the iPad 2.

It's something we've discussed in the office here at ZDNet HQ, merely as speculation. After all, if the iPad 2 did well, wouldn't Apple be the first to tell us?

A new report from the not-always-reliable DigiTimes claims that Apple shipped 13 million iPad units in Q3 2011 -- an impressive figure showing 36.8 percent growth, but one that "did not meet its forecast."

The report blames a weakening global economy, though I'm not so sure that's what's at work here.

My thinking:

  • The product came too soon after the first, at nine months about a year. And the first was, of course, a landmark, segment-forming product.
  • The second version didn't have a killer feature. Most memorable thing about the iPad? The magnetic cover accessory you had to buy extra.
  • The product didn't get a lot of play. The original iPad got loads of TV time, but I don't recall there being much for the iPad 2. Could just be my fuzzy memory, however.
  • The content isn't quite there. My wife purchased an iPad because she's an early adopter; until I can find all my magazine subscriptions in Newsstand, it's merely a TV-watching accessory.

But a weakening global economy? I don't bite on that. Record-setting iPhone 4S sales this weekend demonstrate that, given enough pent-up demand, a product can sell. (Which brings me back to my first bullet, above.)

It shouldn't be a surprise that rival tablet manufacturers are having difficulty -- aside from poor products, there's not quite as much built-in demand for tablets as you might expect. Simply: the iPad alone hasn't justified the market segment to the mainstream. We're all aware of it, sure, but there's a big valley between awareness and purchase.

Smartphones may be the most lucrative for consumer electronics makers but it's clear that twice as much work will be required to get tablets into the home and enterprise. Given enough time, it will happen -- but someone needs to lay that infrastructure.

Does the DigiTimes report hold water? We'll find out after Apple's earnings call this afternoon.

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Tablets

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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72 comments
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  • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

    9 months? The first iPad was released on 4/3/10 and the iPad 2 was released on 3/11/11 which is just a few weeks shy of a year.
    jmiller1978
    • I'm using announcement dates.

      @jmiller1978 Once it's announced, it exists.
      andrew.nusca
      • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

        @andrew.nusca

        Not in terms of sales Andrew. People need to be able to buy it, in order to buy it.

        Anyway, we'll see what the facts are in about five and a half hours. Whether iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired, or DigiTimes' inside track.
        Englishmole
      • A weakening global economy could be at play here

        @andrew.nusca
        a year or 2 ago people would happily buy both the iPhone [b]and[/b] the iPad, and do so again 6-12 months later

        With a tougher economy, people may have be tightening their belts and getting just 1 product, the iPhone as it's the more versital of the two
        William Farrell
      • The announcements dates are further apart!

        @andrew.nusca
        If you're using announcement dates then you're even more wrong. The iPad was announced 1/27/10 and the iPad 2 was announced 3/2/11 which is over 13 months! The only way I can see you coming up with 9 months is taking the iPads last international release date and iPad 2's announcement which just don't make much sense.
        jmiller1978
    • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

      @jmiller1978

      9 months, 11 months does the 2 months matter that much. People in general want their $500 plus investment to last more than a year.
      Turd Furgeson
      • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

        @Turd Furgeson Who said anything about lasting less than a year. Just because a new iPad is available doesn't mean the original one no longer works. If that were the case how would all the Android fans feel that within a month of getting their new phone it no longer works because there is a new and improved model on the market.
        non-biased
  • We All Have One

    Most people already have one, it would be nice to have more than one but these things are pricey at $500. I own 5 ipods, why because they costs less. For now, only 1 iPad, if the prices came down I would probably get another one.
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

      @Hasam1991 you can buy Kindle Fire ...
      AdnanPirota
      • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

        Its just too devoid of hardware and as a buy content only deal-no thanks
        msheltra
    • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

      @Hasam1991 Most people don't have them. It's far more likely that people who wanted one also wanted the new iPhone and couldn't afford to buy both at the same time. So, they delayed their iPad purchase to buy the iPhone first. In a few months, we'll see the iPad sales start to climb again. Every time I show my iPad 2 to somebody, the feature they love most is FaceTime. Immediately, they get excited that they could video chat with their kids, relatives, friends, etc. Then, they show others and those people want one. This growing word of mouth is what will drive sales. We haven't seen anything yet.
      BillDem
      • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

        @BillDem
        If after 2 years they still need word of mouth to move their product then its pretty much dead. Like 3 weekends after a new movie is released. Apple doesn't rely on word of mouth. They use their PR machine and branding.
        rengek
      • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

        @BillDem
        funny, I've been doing video chatting for a good 3-4 years, I don't think there was a facetime then, find a better reason to throw away $500
        aiellenon
      • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

        @rengek Wrong, if it was simply about marketing and PR then all the sales would have happened in the first several weeks, just like with your movie example. Sales continue through the year as more people talk with owners and get to try it out. Haters are always clueless and claim it's the marketing but that only gets you so far and does not get you repeat customers. To get continued sales and repeat customers you have to provide a high level of satisfaction in the purchase which is something that Apple beats everyone at.
        non-biased
      • Pet rock syndrome

        @BillDem Its a fad that will die away soon enough. Phones are useful, music players are good if you don't want to mix your phone with your music or you want one for your kid. The IPad is fine, but hardly useful. If I turn on my IPad once a week its a lot. I'm pretty much thinking I'll just craigs list it and use the profits to buy a light laptop. If you like $5 games, I guess the IPad is awesome, but I have no interest in game-play. I prefer to enjoy my time with my wife, kids and friends in person.
        A Gray
    • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

      @Hasam1991
      ummm there are more than 30 million people in the world. So its safe to say most people DON'T have one.
      rengek
  • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

    The tablet market isn't as robust as tech pundits have claimed. There is a great number of people who do not feel the need to buy a tablet.
    hoaxoner
    • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

      @hoaxoner
      +1
      LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
    • RE: Apple iPad 2 sales leave something to be desired: report

      @hoaxoner +1
      AdnanPirota
    • Agreed

      @hoaxoner I am a technogeek. I get the latest gadgets and use technology all day every day. But, I just do not see the need for a tablet, They are "cool" but I just do not think I would really use it much. I have a nice smartphone with a big screen and I have had a Kindle for 2 years. I just think a tablet would not get used for much. The Kindle Fire does look interesting and is the first tablet that I have seriously thought about. The price point has allot to do with it. Sub $200 is what it will take to get a big audience to look at tablets. To the mainstream non-technophile average person, they are seen as very expensive toys or gadgets. My 17 year old Son has a iPod touch & says the iPad just a big iPod Touch that he would not carry around with him, its too big and fragile.
      tgschmidt