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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 18, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Apple sales strong, but iPad sales less than expected

Apple is reporting record third-quarter sales driven by strong sales of the Mac — up 27 percent — and the iPhone, up 91 percent.

But iPad sales of 4.19 million were well under the 5 million or more that Wall Street analysts were expecting. Apple stock dropped about 7 percent in extended trading, falling back under $300. The quarterly results were announced after regular trading closed.

The earnings won’t settle the open question of whether the iPad is cannibalizing sales of low-end netbook computers.

Perhaps the question is whether the iPad is cannibalizing sales of Apple’s iPod. The company said iPod sales fell 11 percent during the quarter, to 9.05 million units.

Apple’s total sales during the quarter were $20.34 billion and net profit was $4.31 billion, or $4.64 per diluted share. Analysts on average were expecting $4.06 per share.

Apple’s EPS forecast for the key holiday season was lower than expected — “about $4.80” vs. analysts’ consensus of $5.04.

Investors may be a little nervous about the mixed numbers – a really strong quarter, but a low forecast and less-than-expected iPad sales – but Apple’s still getting favorable headlines. Consider the first batch:

“Apple Earnings: Crushin’ It” — Wall Street Journal MarketBeat blog

“Apple blows past earnings expectations again, extends string of record quarters” — Los Angeles. Times

“Apple Crushes Estimates On Surging IPhone Sales” — Forbes

“Apple earnings soar on iPhone, iPad sales,” — Marketwatch

Some are more sober:

“Instant view: Apple iPad sales light, shares slide” — Reuters

“Apple’s Q4 Earnings: Golden Delicious or Granny Smith?” — paidContent

“Apple Crushes Earnings But iPad Misses Big” — Silicon Alley Insider

Comments | More in | Topics: Apple

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