Apple is notorious about low-balling its revenue guidance, setting up Wall Street for numbers that blow the doors off resulting expectations; has it done something similar about its iPad sales figures for the opening day? While some analysts had egg on their face over exuberant sales predictions, one voice Monday raised some interesting questions about Apple’s announcement of 300,000 iPads sold April 3.
Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair told investors Apple’s figure does not include any orders for 3G iPads ordered. Although orders are being accepted, the 3G units won’t be landing on consumers’ doorsteps until later this month.
Another curious omission: A week of pre-sales which happened after Apple announced online orders would be delivered April 12, rather than April 3.
Finally, Apple’s 300,000 number counts only Saturday. Although the Easter weekend closed some retailers, not every store was shuttered. Plus, what about Monday, when the U.S. retail engine returned to full power, Blair asked. The real figure for iPad sales to date is more like 600,000, the analyst said.
So, in effect, Apple’s 300,000 iPad sales figure marks a day when people are more interested in chocolate bunnies and travelling than standing in lines; the figure doesn’t include a week of online sales nor sales of 3G iPads. Did Apple’s publicity machine work too well and drive the hype so high that Cupertino had to find a way to lower expectations?
The last-minute wet blanket seemed to have worked. Some reports duly noted that when the iPhone first went on sales, its first-day numbers were half those of analyst expectations. Another sign of possibly some reality seeping back into the iPad conversation: Apple stock dipped immediately after the company released its first-day iPad sales numbers, but closed up 1 percent at $238.49. We may get some more complete iPad sales figures when Apple releases its first-quarter earnings report April 20.