iPad sales miss estimates as rate of adoption slowed

Sales of the tablet ahead of the launch of the iPad Mini came in below analysts' projections.

Casey Newton Former Senior Writer
Casey Newton writes about Google for CNET, which he joined in 2012 after covering technology for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is really quite tall.
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The rate at which consumers bought the iPad slowed for the quarter compared to expectations.

Apple said today that it had sold 14 million iPads in the most recent quarter, compared with 11.12 million iPads a year ago. That's a 26 percent increase on the year; in the same quarter in 2011, iPad sales increased by 166 percent.

That's significantly less than analysts expected, though.

Apple previewed its tablet sales during yesterday's iPad Mini unveiling, saying it has sold 100 million iPads to date. In a note this morning, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu had noted Apple had sold fewer than 16 million iPads for the quarter.

"This is consistent with our supplier checks indicating lower build plans ahead of iPad Mini," Wu said. "To be conservative, we are trimming our estimate to 15.8 million units."

Wall Street was expecting between 17 million and 18 million iPads sold; Fortune today noted that other analysts reduced their projections to between 15 million and 16 million.

Update: In a conference call with analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook blamed the lower sales on the education market and rumors of new iPads.

"The 14 million exceeded what we expected," he said. "We believe based on two or three years of results, we normally see a reduction in the September quarter versus the June quarter."

Cook added that the K-12 market buys most of its devices in June, and that September purchases are dominated by the smaller higher-education market, which is more laptop-focused.

"In addition, it's clear customers delayed purchases due to new product rumors," Cook said.