Apple 2.0

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How many iPads did Apple sell last quarter?

October 18, 2012: 12:50 PM ET

The forecasts range from 14.8 million to 23 million. The median estimate was 18 million.

Click to enlarge.

UPDATE: Tim Cook's announcement at the iPad mini event that Apple sold 100 million iPads as of two weeks ago -- only 16 million more than Q3's total -- has thrown most analysts for a loop. They've been scrambling ever since to adjust their models.

FORTUNE -- Talk about an expectations gap! You could drive a truckload of Android tablets through the high and low estimates of iPad sales for the quarter that ended Sept. 29.

In our survey of 61 Apple (AAPL) analysts -- 31 Wall Street types and 30 independents -- there was no greater disparity than in their average iPad unit sales numbers.

The Street's consensus put iPad sales at just under 17.6 million, while the consensus among the indies was for sales of 19.23 million, more than 9% higher.

Not that there was universal agreement within the two groups. The low estimate of 14.8 million was submitted by both Gabelli & Co.'s Hendi Susanto and by Navin Arthanareeswaran of the independent Braeburn Group.

Two indies submitted the same high estimate of 23 million: Braeburn's Michael Cranston and the unaffiliated Navin Nagrani.

The average estimate among all 61 analysts was 18.38 million. The median was 18.13 million.

We'll find out whose iPad numbers were closest to the mark when Apple reports its earnings after the markets close on Thursday, Oct. 25.

Below: The analysts' individual estimates, with the pros in blue and the amateurs in green.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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