Has Apple lost its mojo with the iPad mini and iPad 4?

Has Apple lost its mojo with the iPad mini and iPad 4?

Crank your reality distortion fields up to 11, folks: Over the last weekend, which saw the release of the iPad 4 and iPad mini, Apple says it sold “three million iPads.” Yes, iPads in general.

How many iPad minis did Apple sell over the weekend? No idea. How many fourth-generation iPads did Apple sell? No idea. More worryingly, did Apple also include the sales of iPad 2 and 3, and refurbished iPads in that figure? No idea.

All we know is that Apple sold three million iPads over a three day period – which is impressive in general terms, but fairly underwhelming in the Appleverse. Perhaps there’s an underlying trend here, too: Apple sold five million iPhone 5s during its opening weekend in September – a massive figure, but it was actually well short of analyst expectations. (Samsung’s Galaxy S III, by comparison, clocked up nine million pre-orders – by far the fastest-selling smartphone of all time).

After four or five months of solid growth, Apple (AAPL) stock has been trending downwards for the last six weeks. Since the launch of the iPhone 5, Apple has dropped from a market capitalisation of $700 billion (£440 billion) to $580 billion (£360 billion) this week.

You have to wonder why Apple didn’t release specific figures for both the iPad mini and iPad 4. Presumably, one of the tablets had a weaker launch than expected – or, if Apple really massaged the figures to include the sales of other new and refurbished iPads, then maybe both new models put in a lacklustre performance.

What would Apple consider to be “lacklustre,” though? Asus recently reported that it sold almost one million Google Nexus 7 tablets in October. In true Amazon fashion, we have absolutely no idea how many Kindle Fire HD tablets have sold, but it’s unlikely to be more than one or two million per month. So are we to assume that the iPad mini sold just a few hundred thousand units on its opening weekend, thus causing a little embarrassment in Cupertino?

Or was it the fourth-generation iPad that failed to spark consumer interest? With the same display, chassis, no standout new features such as Siri, and “just” a new SoC, would you really expect millions of consumers to fork out another £400?

What’s also worth bearing in mind is that a recent report carried out by Strategy Analytics showed that 75 per cent of current iPhone owners in Western Europe are intending to upgrade to another Apple phone – down from 88 per cent this time last year. In the US, where the “force” is still a bit stronger, the figure is down from 93 per cent to 88 per cent. Meanwhile, Google’s Android operating system is enjoying one of the most meteoric rises the world has ever seen.

It’s fairly anecdotal, but there were quite a few stories from the weekend about a lack of queues at Apple Stores around the world – a stark contrast from every other major smartphone or tablet launch that Apple has conducted in the last few years. Apple’s press release even quotes Tim Cook as saying that Apple “practically sold out of iPad minis” – unlike the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, and iPad 2 and 3, which all sold out soon after launch.

Obfuscated numbers, falling stock, and floppy phrasing from CEO Tim Cook. Is Apple losing its mojo?

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