Apple's iPad Pro didn't move Q1 sales needle: Enterprises will take time

Eli Lilly is ditching laptops for the iPad Pro, but a lot more companies have to follow if Apple is going to get iPad sales rolling again.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

The launch of Apple's iPad Pro couldn't stop the bleeding for sales of the company's iconic tablet as units fell well short of expectations.

Simply put, Apple's iPad Pro didn't warrant a mention in the company's earnings statement as services, Apple TV, Apple Watch and the iPhone led the charge.

In Apple's fiscal first quarter, Apple moved 16.12 million iPad units, down 25 percent from a year ago. Cowen was looking for Apple to deliver 19 million iPad units in the quarter. BGC was looking for 18 million units for the iPad.

On Apple's earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook mentioned the iPad Pro and said it was well received by customers.

iPad Pro's tall order: Making the iPad material to Apple again

Is the iPad Pro a flop? Maybe, but first it's worth noting the enterprise buying cycle, which is considerably slower than the consumer market. Apple's iPad Pro with a 32GB WiFi configuration along with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard will run you $1,067.

iPad Pro: 5 things I like (and 5 I don't)

Add it up and the iPad Pro has to be a laptop replacement to even be considered. In addition, enterprises are quickly moving to Windows 10 and all the 2-in-1 hybrid devices that go with Microsoft's platform.

The bottom line here is that the iPad Pro isn't a quick decision for a large enterprise. The iPad made it to the workplace largely due to consumerization. The iPad Pro is too expensive and large for the average worker to lug to work. Apple did say that corporate buyers had a 73 percent purchase intent for the iPad for the March quarter, according to 451 Research.

"One great example of our progress in the enterprise is Eli Lilly who boosted sales productivity by equipping 15,000 field based personnel across the world with iPad. A leader in mobile technology, Lilly has eliminated laptops in the field and is upgrading its U.S. field sales teams to iPad Pro," said Apple CFO Luca Maestri.

For the iPad Pro to stabilize Apple's tablet business more enterprises like Eli Lilly will have to choose to ditch laptops. That decision will take time.

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