eewiz said it best -- Apple products have an annual sales cycle. In fact, the annual cycle is staggered between new iPhone releases and new iPad releases, so a decline in sales of each in the quarter before everyone expects a new model should not be a surprise.
The Apple rumor mill is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, a great deal of free publicity and tremendous word of mouth. But on the other hand, a battle to maintain sales of existing products against endless rumors of new launch dates.
It's crazy, some of the rumors people will believe, even when those rumors defy common sense. I had a friend who, way back in January, was ready to dump his Blackberry and get an iPhone. He agonized over whether he should get a 4s right away, or wait for iPhone 5 -- because he heard a rumor somewhere that iPhone 5 was coming out in either February or March...of 2012! I literally laughed out loud when he asked my opinion. I reminded him that the 4s just came out last October and they can hardly make them fast enough, so why would a new model be coming out just 5 months later? "It's just what I heard," he said.
When I reminded him of the previous iPhone release intervals, and that the earliest a reasonable person might expect to see an iPhone 5 was this coming Christmas shopping season, he took the plunge and got a 4s. But for millions of would-be iPhone customers who now think they only have to wait a couple months for iPhone 5, this indeed must be putting a significant damper on sales of the 4s for the coming quarter.
iPad is a master case of Supply Chain power Apple has created as a strategic advantage. They are the only vendor that can sell a full featured tablet at $100 less and STILL make money. No analyst seems to get the magnitude of that. The other tablet competitors can't make any profit or losing money at that price point. And yet, they whine about lower margins. iPad 2 at the lower price point is there only until the 7" version comes out and then the world of margins re-aligns again. In the mean time, they sucked all the air out of the room for competitors to pick up market share.
17 million sets of iPad sold in one quarter is a fabulous sales record! The sales drop of the iPhone I think is expected as many people are now holding their money to buy the iPhone 5! I won't be surprised by the drop of sales in iPod as I really don't see its value much. What else will Apple make in the future is more important! I suppose they are planning well to roll out something that can grasp a whole new area of interest.
Analysts are stupid and couldnt get it right. Is that a big deal?
Apple's products have an annual sales cycle and the revenues are up 22% from last year. I would call this a fantastic result.
PS: Quote from Jobs "Experts are clueless"