Apple COO: iPad takes a bite out of Mac sales

The iPad outsold the Mac by more than 5 million units in the most recent quarter and this trend doesn't appear to be waning.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

The iPad is nibbling away Mac sales, as demand continued to exceed supply in the quarter, according to comments made by Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook during the company's third-quarter earnings conference call.

iPad 2 demand continued to exceed supply in the most recent quarter, cutting into Mac sales.
iPad 2 demand continued to exceed supply in the most recent quarter, cutting into Mac sales. Apple

iPad shipments jump 183 percent: How big of a nibble? We know this much. Apple shipped a record 9.25 million iPads during the quarter, a 183 percent increase over the same quarter last year when it shipped 3.3 million. Meanwhile, it shipped about 3.95 million Macs in the third quarter, a 14 percent increase from last year.

iPad K-12 takes off: "We sold more iPads in K-12 than we sold Macs. To do that after just five quarters is absolutely shocking," Cook said.

Mac revenue comparison: Revenue for the iPad and related products and services was $6 billion versus about $5 billion for Macs. But a more meaningful contrast is MacBooks. MacBook revenue was about $3.525 billion, a significantly smaller portion of iPad sales.

Cook: Yes, there is cannibalization: While the numbers alone suggest some cannibalization of Macs, Cook was even more specific. "In terms of cannibalization, we do believe that some customers chose to purchase an iPad instead of a new Mac during the quarter," he said. Not surprisingly, Cook added: "We also believe that even more customers chose to purchase an iPad over a Windows PC."

Can't keep up with demand: It may also be the case that some consumers are choosing to buy an iPad over a competing Android tablet. "We were still selling every unit we could during the quarter...[But] as we stepped into July, we have been able to increase the supply further," Cook said.

Apple speaks the truth about competing tablets: Cook also made a statement later in the call about competitors that sounds like hubris but is pretty close to the truth when iPad sales numbers are compared with rivals' tallies. "It doesn't appear that other tablets are getting any traction to speak of," Cook said.