Holiday iPhone, Mac Sales Top Expectations, But iPad Demand Is ‘A Little Light’

Holiday iPhone, Mac Sales Top Expectations, But iPad Demand Is ‘A Little Light’

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Sales of the iPhone and Mac are topping analyst expectations for the holiday quarter, eating into Android marketshare. On the flip side, despite reaching new record sales, iPad demand is described as “a little light,” one analyst told investors Wednesday. In the kind of bad news rivals could only hope to have, iPhone demand continues to outstrip supply and those soft iPad figures are partly due to increased interest in another Apple product: the MacBook Air.

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu increased his quarterly forecast for iPhone sales to 28 million, up from 26. He also raised his estimate for Mac sales to 5.2 million, up from 5 million on signs of strong demand for the MacBook Air. However, he lowered his iPad sales projections from 15 million to 13.5 million.

The higher demand for the iPhone 4S, as well as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS “is helping drive greater smartphone adoption as well as enabling share gains against Android and BlackBerry (as evidenced with both HTC and RIMM missing numbers),” Wu writes. His supplier checks “indicate much improved production capacity but demand continues to outstrip supply.”

The jump in Mac sales can largely be attributed to overwhelming desire for the MacBook Air, which now comprises 28 percent of all notebooks Apple ships. The demand is so great, there is talk the Cupertino, Calif. company may release a 15-inch version of the lightweight laptop in 2012.

The MacBook Air demand could even be the cause for softening iPad sales. Although some credit should be given to the recent success of Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire, Wu also suggests some consumers faced with tight budgets are opting to buy the more full-featured MacBook Air over the iPad. Whether this is a trend or simply a hiccup will require another quarter or two.

Wu’s 13.5 million iPads during the holiday quarter is in line with Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley who Tuesday forecast 13 million iPads for this quarter. The analyst believes some of the slowdown is due to consumers waiting for a new iPad expected to be unveiled in early 2012.

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  • CharliK

    Oh please, Shaw Wu is consistently so far off that he’s a total joke. His numbers are always way under. The only thing he happens to have right this time is why the numbers might be a bit less than they could be — the iPad 3 rumors. 

    But in the end I won’t be shocked if the numbers for the Quarter beat both his 13 Million and the original 15 Million

  • TechUser

    Everyone that ”needed” to have an iPad already has one.  Everyone else is waiting for the iPad 3!

  • TechUser

    Everyone that ”needed” to have an iPad already has one.  Everyone else is waiting for the iPad 3!

  • GregsTechBlog

    I’d expect iPad demand to be light. Apple normally reveals a new one in January. Who wants to get one for Christmas only to find out a month later that it’s going to soon be obsolete?
    I’d love an iPad right now, but I’m holding off for the iPad 3.

  • Mike Rathjen

    “The analyst believes some of the slowdown is due to consumers waiting for a new iPad expected to be unveiled in early 2012.”

    That’s me.

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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