We sort the statistics from the damned lies.
It’s become custom for Apple to issue an identikit press release talking up sales of its new iPad or iPhone in the days after it goes on sale.
This week was no different, with a statement touting the fact that Cupertino shifted a massive three million new iPads over the weekend from November 2nd.
That’s undoubtedly impressive, especially as it solely includes Wi-Fi only models, with 4G capable devices not going on sale until later this month.
Apple has been quick to highlight the fact that that’s double the number of Wi-Fi only third-gen iPads that they sold back when that device debuted back in spring.
But of course, there’s a major caveat here: this time around Apple is talking about two devices, the iPad Mini and iPad with Retina Display, rather than just one.
So essentially, Cupertino has managed to match its early 2012 achievement, rather than better it. In the same statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “Customers around the world love the new iPad Mini and fourth generation iPad.
“We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad Minis. We're working hard to build more quickly to meet the incredible demand.”
It’d be hard to refute Cook’s claim that there’s “incredible demand”. But the phrase “practically sold out” tells a different story.
Either the iPad Mini is sold out or it isn’t. Sticking with its relentlessly positive, spin-heavy approach, Apple’s suggestion that it’s almost out of iPad Minis looks somewhat foolish.
Anyone can see through the term “practically” and there’s no doubt that Amazon and Google, both with rival budget tablets to sell, will seize on this rather wooly term.
Similarly, Apple is stretching it to call this a “launch weekend record”.
Combined sales of the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+4G models of the third generation iPad were three million and to suddenly create a Wi-Fi-only stat from that launch in order to justify a self-serving “record” is a touch pathetic.
Apple has done fine work with the iPad Mini and iPad with Retina Display, but this desperate release is not exactly smart.
iPad sales were down in the last quarter and Apple is banking on the iPad Mini to boost its margins and do the business ahead of Christmas.
As has been seen with its iPod line, it’s unlikely Apple will ever provide a breakdown of specific iPad sales figures in its quarterly reports.
That will give succour to rivals and help them pile on the pressure through advertising. And means that, at last, the tablet space looks as if it’s about to be blown wide open.