Apple 2.0

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Apple analysts scramble to lower their Q4 iPad estimates

October 24, 2012: 12:33 PM ET

100 million may sound like a lot of iPads, but it was a few million less than expected

Apple CEO Tim Cook

FORTUNE -- "Today I'm thrilled to tell you," CEO Tim Cook proclaimed about half-way through Apple's (AAPL) iPad mini special event Tuesday, "that two weeks ago we sold our 100 millionth iPad."

The analysts who were paying attention were not so thrilled. According to Apple's SEC filings, the company sold a total of 84.12 million iPads as of June 30, the last day of a quarter in which it booked 17.57 million sales.

Cook's announcement meant that as of Oct. 9 the company had sold roughly 15.88 million iPads. Ten days earlier, when Apple closed its books on the last quarter of fiscal 2012, the number would have been even lower.

Rather than gaining momentum, as Cook had implied, the iPad was losing it.

That realization sent many analysts back to their spreadsheets. And in the 24 hours since Cook made his announcements, I've heard from 17 of them.

As a group, these analysts lowered their iPad estimates an average of 2.67 million units. Most also lowered their revenue and earnings estimates, an average of $1.26 billion and $0.31, respectively.

We'll get a definitive unit sales number from Apple after the markets close Thursday, when the company is scheduled to release its Q4 earnings.

Below: The analysts' before and after numbers, with the professionals in blue and the independents in green.

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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

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