How many iPads did Apple sell last quarter?


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.



Pro's consensus in blue, indies in green. Chart: PED

FORTUNE -- Credit where credit is due: The consensus among the professional Apple (aapl) analysts we polled in January was that the company sold about 22.8 million iPads in the Christmas quarter. The company actually sold 22.86 million -- pretty darn close.

(About the independent analysts, whose estimates averaged 25.5 million and ranged as high as 32 million, the less said the better.)

For the most recent quarter -- the one that ended March 29 -- the positions of the two groups are reversed, with the pros more bullish than the amateurs. The consensus among the professionals is that Apple will report Q2 sales of 18.4 million iPads; the average among the indies is 17.7 million.

As usual, however, the forecasts of the individual analysts are all over the lot. The low number, 13 million, submitted by Wedge Partner's Brian Blair, would represent 10% growth year over year. At the other end of the spectrum is Nomura's Stuart Jeffrey, whose 21.7 million estimate tops the list. He's looking for 84% growth.

The median estimate among the 56 analysts we've heard from so far -- 33 pros and 26 amateurs -- is 18 million. That's 52.6% higher than the 11.8 million iPads Apple sold in the same quarter last year.

Below: The individual analysts estimates, with the pros in blue and the indies in green. We'll find out who was closest to the mark when Apple reports its earnings for fiscal Q2 2013 on Tuesday, April 23.



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