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Apple Mum On iPad Sales

Apple didn't disclose first weekend sales figures for the iPad Air, but analysts suggest strong adoption.

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Apple remained quiet Monday morning following the iPad Air's November 1 debut. Apple's new tablet went on sale last week to shorter lines than previous launches. Though the company did not announce first weekend sales figures, several analytics firms believe Apple sold plenty of tablets.

Last year Apple moved about 3 million fourth-generation iPads and iPad Minis on their first weekend of availability. Apple didn't specify how many of those tablets were full-sized iPads or how many were iPad Minis. This year the company is staggering the rollout of its new tablets. The iPad Mini won't go on sale until later this month, though Apple has yet to say exactly when. Apple may not want to disclose sales until both tablets are available.

With no word from Apple, Fiksu, a mobile app marketing company, is sharing data that shines some light on the subject. Fiksu measured how many new iPads were accessing its clients' apps over the weekend and found that the iPad Air was being used by 0.88% of the millions of devices that its software touches. That figure sounds low, but it is five times the first-weekend adoption rate of the fourth-generation iPad (0.15%) and just under four times the first-weekend adoption rate of the iPad Mini (0.22%).

Extrapolating these numbers outward, Fiksu believes the Apple iPad Air had a big first weekend, with sales probably surpassing the combined 3 million units the fourth-gen iPad and iPad Mini saw together last year.

[ Not everyone is wowed by Apple's new iPads. Read Woz Doesn't Like New iPads. ]

Another company seemingly backs up Fiksu's numbers. Mixpanel, which also provides app marketing, said the iPad Air reached 1.54% of all its clients' iPad traffic. At the same time, usage of the iPad 1 and iPad 2 dropped across Mixpanel's clients' apps. This provides some interesting insight.

The drop in iPad 1 and 2 usage happening concurrently with the increase in iPad Air usage suggests that many Air purchases were coming from owners of older iPads. Perhaps owners of the first- and second-generation tablets saw no reason to upgrade to the iPad 3 or the iPad 4 but jumped at the chance to upgrade to the smaller, lighter, more powerful iPad Air.

The iPad Air comes in black and white and is powered by Apple's 1.4-GHz dual-core A7 processor with the M7 coprocessor. It has 1 GB of RAM and storage between 16 and 128 GB. The tablet includes front and rear cameras (1.3 megapixels and 5.0 megapixels, respectively) and a number of sensors, and if you don't mind spending a bit more money, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3G/4G cellular radios. The 16-GB Wi-Fi model costs $499. Pricing ranges up to $929 if you choose 128 GB and cellular radios.

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Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/4/2013 | 5:14:04 PM
re: Apple Mum On iPad Sales
"Apple may not want to disclose sales until both tablets are available." I agree that this is probably the reason Apple's been silent.

I saw one survey that found 70-75% of first-day Air buyers were upgrading from an earlier iPad, and that the remainder were first-time iPad buyers. The survey was based on a paltry sample (~100 people at a single Apple retail location), but it's an interesting first hint at the Air's trajectory. Apple does a good job retaining customers across generations of devices, but its ability to expand its base will be something worth paying attention to. Android growth will outpace Apple's purely because of where most Android tablets are positioned in the market. Apple will ship more tablets than all Windows OEMs will ship combined, but some of the new Windows devices are pretty nice and will add legitimate competition. If Apple not only persuades many existing customers to upgrade but also manages to snare lots of new ones, that would be pretty impressive.
User Rank: Ninja
11/4/2013 | 8:47:05 PM
re: Apple Mum On iPad Sales
I think that if the numbers were great they'd be released like all other iPad debuts before. With Apple still continuing to sell the previous generation of iPad, it will affect the iPad Air sales. Still the iPad Air sales will still make the Surface numbers look pathetic.
User Rank: Ninja
11/5/2013 | 11:26:07 PM
re: Apple Mum On iPad Sales
Darn! That was what I was going to post. Apple doesn't break out numbers of individual devices in a line. So we likely will see numbers after the Retina Mini is out.

We can get an idea of how well they sold be the numbers AT&T gave out. Over 200% greater than last year. That's over three times the sales. T-mobile sold more in the weekend than they sold all quarter before. Results like this seem to be everywhere.

I have to say that I'm amazed at my air. It's SO much lighter than my older ones that it's hard to believe.
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