Apple shipped 4.6% fewer tablets in the first three months of 2022 than it did during the same period of 2021, according to a market research firm. The iPad-maker blames the shortfall on the global chip shortage preventing it from making enough devices to meet demand.
This is the second quarter in a row that iPad shipments have been hurt by component shortages.
iPad production can’t keep up with demand
iPad is the world’s most popular line of tablets, but global problems have been affecting the supply. For shoppers, that has meant waiting for an iPad. For Apple, an inability to get enough chips has reduced revenue.
The company was able to ship 12.1 million iPads in the January-through-March quarter. That’s down from 12.7 million in Q1 2021, according to IDC.
Apple insists problem is not weak demand
Not surprisingly, iPad was a dark spot in Apple’s generally bright earnings report for the March quarter. Apple CFO Luca Maestri said, “We grew in each of our product categories except iPad, which remains significantly supply constrained throughout the quarter.”
And Maestri reiterated in a conference call with investors that reduced iPad shipments result from the chip shortage. “Most of the iPad and Mac models are constrained today,” he told investors in a conference call. “They’ve been constrained for several quarters because the demand is very good for those products.”
The analysts at IDC don’t fully agree. They argue that “growth has softened” because “aggressive purchasing of devices in 2020 and 2021 led many users to hold onto their recently purchased tablets.”
But the second- and third-place tablet makers saw small increases in shipments, according to IDC. Samsung’s tablet shipments reached 8.1 million in the March quarter, a 3.5% annual rise. Shipments of Amazon Fire tablets grew to 3.7 million, a 6.3% increase.
Rival market-analysis firm Strategy Analytics doesn’t fully agree. While is also says iPad shipments dropped, it says Samsung’s and Amazon’s shipments were lower year-over-year, too.
iPad shipments catching up
While the problem is ongoing, evidence points to Apple catching up with demand for iPad. In February, buyers were waiting a month or more to receive the low-cost 10.2-inch model. But a check of the online Apple store today shows that an order placed May 2 for this $329 iPad can have it delivered between May 17 and May 24. There’s still a wait, but it’s shorter than it was a few months ago.
And an 11-inch iPad Pro ordered on May 2 won’t be delivered until between May 6 and May 10. Or an order for a 12.9-inch placed on May 2 won’t be delivered until between May 10 and May 17.
But there’s no wait on Apple’s website for a base model iPad Air 5 or iPad mini.
And while Apple’s iPad revenue was down 2% in the first three months of 2022, revenue was down 14% in the previous quarter. It seems Apple still has a problem with iPad shipments, but it’s not as bad as it used to be.