Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the third straight quarter of declining iPad sales during the company’s earnings call Monday.
Apple sold 12.3 million iPads during the September quarter, which is down 13% from a year ago.
Cook repeated the argument that Apple has sold more iPads in four years than iPhones sold during the first four years. He also said Apple reduced channel inventory for iPads in anticipation of the new models (iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3) that were introduced last week.
Still, Cook said he recognised the declining sales and wanted to reverse the trend.
“I view it as a speed bump, but not a huge issue,” Cook said. “That said, we want to grow. We don’t like negative numbers.”
This chart from Business Insider Intelligence shows how iPad sales have declined:
He also doesn’t think the iPad market is saturated, pointing out that in many markets, up to 70% of iPad buyers were first-time owners. But Cook still seemed unsure about how often people upgrade their iPads.
“People hold onto iPads longer than they do a phone,” Cook said. “We’ve only been in this business four years. We don’t know what the upgrade cycle will be.”
He also said Apple’s own products could be cannibalising iPad sales.
“I’m sure some people look at the Mac and the iPad and decide on the Mac,” Cook said. “And I’m fine with that by the way. I’m sure some people look at the iPad and iPhone and decide to get an iPhone.”
But in the long run, Cook said the iPad can still be successful.
“Over a long arc of time, the iPad has a great future. I’m very bullish on where we can take the iPad,” Cook said.