Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

Summary: Apple's iPad sales may be caught in the middle of consumers opting to go down market for the Kindle Fire or going upscale with the MacBook Air.

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Apple's iPad sales in the December quarter look to be lower than expected amid the popularity of Amazon's Kindle Fire as well as its own MacBook Air.

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said in a research note that the iPad is seeing competition from two areas---the Kindle Fire and the MacBook Air. As a result, Wu cut his December quarter iPad sales estimate to 13.5 million from 15 million.

Obviously, Apple isn't going to sweat losing iPad sales to the MacBook Air, but the development is worth noting. Wu also appears to be the latest analyst to indicate that the Kindle Fire is a threat to the iPad.

Apple's iPad sales have been a hot topic in recent months. Worries began to surface in September and then the concerns appeared to be overblown after Apple deployed some "pricing stimulus."

Wu wrote in a research note:

In the Mac business, we are seeing particular strength in the MacBook Air, arguably the best ultra-mobile PC on the market. Last but not least, iPads appear a little light of expectations due in part to competition from Amazon’s Kindle Fire but also as some users opt for a more full-featured MacBook Air.

If this MacBook Air vs. iPad theme plays out, the tablet comparison to the tablet is going to be more interesting. It has been widely assumed that tablets will trump laptops, but if Apple customers are opting for a MacBook Air over the iPad perhaps limitations matter. Meanwhile, Intel's ultrabook movement could also make a dent in tablet sales. As ultrabook prices fall, they will be seen as direct substitutes for tablets assuming static pricing trends.

Bottom line: Maybe we shouldn't count out PC sales just yet.

As for Apple, light iPad sales may not be much to worry about for the simple reason that the iPhone is carrying the team. Wu said:

iPhone momentum is being driven by the company’s new flagship 4S as well as lower price points on its iPhone 4 and 3GS. This is helping drive greater smart phone adoption as well as enabling share gains against Android and BlackBerry (as evidenced with both HTC and RIM missing numbers). Our supplier checks indicate much improved production capacity but demand continues to outstrip supply.

Wu now sees Apple moving 28 million iPhones in the December quarter, up from his previous projection of 26 million. Wu estimates that 5.2 million Macs will be sold up from his outlook of 5 million.

Related:

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

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48 comments
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  • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

    As to be expected. For $699 the iPad is just over priced for what it can do. For that money you might as well get a laptop, actually you can get one for cheaper than that. As for the Fire, $200 is a decent price, still not great but consumers are seeing no reason to pay $699 for one when they can pay $200.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

      @Loverock Davidson- lol, the second-highest priced iPad is $699, the entry-level iPad is only $499.
      mholda
      • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

        @mholda Still too expensive. I thought about a tablet but ended up with a $299 netbook. I hate that it's Win7 (that will change when I get the $$ for a Macbook Air) but for $299 I got a REAL computer that will do everything I want it to do. Yes it's slow and has an inferior OS but it can do more than a tablet.
        itguy10
      • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

        @mholda

        $499. So? Ya can STILL get a laptop for that price that'll blow away the iPad. What's your point?
        illogicbuster
      • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

        @mholda
        $200 Sounds like free money isn't it? Are you going to give me $200? LOL
        Samic
      • illogicbuster, ignore itguy10, he has no point

        @illogicbuster
        he makes up scenerios so that he can insult Microsoft and the people who use their products.

        His fabrication was entirelly for the opportunity to post [i] hate that it's Win7 (that will change when I get the $$ for a Macbook Air) but for $299 I got a REAL computer that will do everything I want it to do. Yes it's slow and has an inferior OS but it can do more than a tablet[/i]

        His experieneces and the products he owns change on a daily basis to suit the article.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

        @mholda
        These guys don't get it. iPad is for people who already have a computer. It is so much more intimate to consume information, do internet shoping and purchasing on. It is magical. I use a PC all day, but don't feel like it's a PC when I'm using the iPad after work.
        CTS_z
      • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

        @CTS_z ---- After you are "intimate" with it, does it leave you with a kiss and $50.00?
        sackbut
      • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

        @CTS_z ---- After you are "intimate" with it, does it leave you with a kiss and $50.00?
        sackbut
      • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

        @itguy10 : Install Linux on your netbook, and it will fly.
        S_Deemer
      • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

        @itguy10 : Oh what a shocker! Mark this day in your calendar to remember. ITGuy10 bought a netbook and has Windows on it - not Linux! Try adding some RAM.
        Gisabun
      • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

        @mholda Lovey knows this but he can't work with facts when talking about tablets and has to twist things to fit his point of view.

        @itguy10 If you had said too expensive for you then you would have had a point but you nor I have any right to determine what is too expensive for anybody else.

        @illogicbuster We all know you got his point about Lovey not being honest. Nobody said anything about it being cheaper than a laptop so what is your point?
        non-biased
    • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

      @Loverock Davidson-
      I bought the highest end Verizon enabled iPad with all the associated gadgets (cables, cover, adapters, bluetooth keyboard). I was not interested in a laptop at any price from any manufacturer. The laptop is not a substitute for the iPad in my case. I found the iPad suitable for many tasks, whether I'm sitting on the couch, reading in bed, as a GPS device in the car, in the tent, at the picnic table with the keyboard, and in the bathroom (imitating Al Bundy).

      For other computing tasks, I have a slew of desktops from different manufacturers and different OS'. None can do what the iPad can do in the situations described above. And clearly I was less concerned about the price than you.
      TroutHound
    • Limits of the iPad and the importance of hardware design

      @Loverock Davidson-

      The article underscores the legitimacy of Windows 8. The market for a second or third PC type device which is limited, is really not that large. Most people need a primary PC that allows them to do what they can do now, as well as do new things. It is crucial however that MS and OEMs come out with compelling PC designs that bring out the advantages of touch, to both desktop and mobile computing use cases. E.g. many of the all-in-one designs I se being sold with Windows 7, don't appear as if they can be pivoted / positioned in front of the user, to support comfortable, prolonged touch based computing. Also many all-in-ones and desktop touch screens will need to have optional physical keyboards integrated into them, in the planes of the screens, to support serious touch based productivity computing. Half baked PC designs will undermine touch computing - similar to the half done touch design effort seen in Windows 7. Touch based PC designs, should seek to get people to use desktop apps, while remaining in this configuration. E.g. if someone is using a touch based monitor with integrated physical keyboard for heavy productivity work using metro apps, he should be able to remain in this PC configuration when he starts working with his desktop apps. E.g. he should be able to use his stylus to manipulate desktop screen elements in lieu of a mouse, and bang away on his physical keyboard, without feeling compelled to re-orient his PC. This strongly biases the user towards the touch based computing environment, and helps drive the ecosystem in this direction.
      P. Douglas
    • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

      You make it sound like 700 bucks is such a big deal. A lot of the people here can make that back easily.
      ryan_v
    • RE: Apple's iPad sales look light amid Kindle Fire, MacBook Air popularity

      @Loverock Davidson-
      Here is one thing my iPad can do that my laptop cannot: Keep out viruses.

      Am I the only one sick and tired of daily maximum priority security updates to Windows, Flash, Adobe Reader, Java, and Microsoft Office products? The traditional PC security model has more holes in it than a sea sponge!
      JohnVoter
      • I agree

        @JohnVoter
        It's gotten so bad that Apple has had to embed an AV scanner into OS X's kernel.
        toddybottom
      • Huh?

        @JohnVoter : Wondering what kind of computer you have. Last Windows update for me was 3 weeks ago. Just what are you using? As for Flash, Adobe reader and Java, you can't blame Microsoft on shotty development.

        If you are getting hit with viruses - you can't blame anyone but yourself. Opening up questionable Emails? Going to questionable download sites? I can't remember the last time I had an actual virus on my system.
        Gisabun
  • OMG - the world (as we know it) is ending

    If Apple's iPad sales don't INCREASE as much as the pundits and so-called "analysts" have predicted. Time to short AAPL.
    davebarnes
    • The uncertain part is that

      @davebarnes
      while he drops sales expactations for iPads 1.5 million units, while only rasing sales of MacBook Airs up .2 million units, that would indicate that 1.3 million people will choose an alternative vendor other then Apple.

      These are not things any company wants to happen.
      Tim Cook