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The iPad pie shrinks as its revenue contribution shrivels to record low

The iPad pie shrinks as its revenue contribution shrivels to record low

Apple sold just 10.9 million iPads in the June quarter, a drop of 18% compared to the same period in 2014, marking double-digit declines that now stretch back a year and a half.

Apple sold just 10.9 million iPads in the June quarter, a drop of 18 per cent compared to the same period the year before, marking double-digit declines that now stretch back to January 2014.

The iPad generated $US4.5 billion in revenue, according to Apple, representing just 9 per cent of Apple's total revenue of $US49.6 billion, the smallest share ever in the tablet's five-year history, including its debut in the second quarter of 2010 when the iPad accounted for 14 per cent of Apple's revenue.

Yet CEO Tim Cook continued to talk up the opportunities for the iPad, a habit that may be wearing thin among Wall Street analysts who have heard it all before.

"I am still bullish on iPad," Cook said during a conference call with those analysts yesterday. "I think and I believe that the iPad consumer upgrade cycle will eventually occur." Moments later, Cook added, "It's not like people have forgotten iPad or anything. It's a fantastic product. So I see a lot of runway."

His use of "forgotten" may have been on the mark, even if it was unintended: Buyers have forgotten the iPad. In the final quarter of 2013, Apple sold a record 26 million of the tables, booking a record $10.7 billion in revenue that represented 20 per cent of the total for the quarter. The recent numbers were simply shades of those at "peak iPad".

In lieu of sales numbers to trumpet, Apple fell back on another habit: Talk up the satisfaction ratings of a slow-selling product. "iPad customer metrics continue to be extremely positive," said CFO Luca Maestri after citing a ChangeWave Research survey that declared 97 per cent of those polled were "very satisfied" with their purchase.

Both Cook and Maestri touted the upcoming iOS 9 - which is in public beta at the moment and expected to launch in September - as a kick-starter for iPad sales. Each mentioned the new iPad-specific features in the upgrade.

"There's some incredible productivity enhancements coming in with Split View and Slide Over and Picture In Picture," said Cook. "These things are incredible features."

When Apple introduced iOS 9 at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June, analysts read the introduction of the features, especially the first two Cook ticked off, as sending a strong signal that a larger-screen iPad, perhaps in the 12-in. range, is in the works and would appear this year.

With the continued contraction of iPad sales and associated revenue, it was no surprise that the Mac again brought more money to Apple's bottom line than its younger sibling.

Apple said it sold 4.8 million Macs in the June quarter -- the average of 30 analysts polled by Fortune on Monday nailed that number - and produced $6 billion, 33 per cent more than did the iPad line.

Both unit sales and revenue for the Mac were up 9 per cent over the second quarter of 2014.


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