Apple 2.0

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How many iPads did Apple sell last quarter?

January 22, 2014: 7:29 AM ET

The analysts' estimates range from 21 million to 28 million. Average: 25 million.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

FORTUNE -- Four years after Steve Jobs introduced it, the iPad is Apple's (AAPL) second biggest cash cow.

If the iPhone generates a bit more than $5 of every $10 Apple collects, the iPad brings in nearly $2. And for both products, the holiday quarter -- the one that Apple reports next Monday -- is the big one.

iPad sales are harder to estimate than the iPhone's this time. The iPad Air didn't ship until Nov. 1, missing one third of the quarter; the new iPad Mini (with Retina display) showed up 12 days later and was in short supply all the way through Christmas.

But we've managed to collect unit sales estimates from 45 Apple analysts -- 28 professionals and 17 amateurs. The results are summarized in the attached bar graph.

The average estimate among all the analysts is 25 million iPads, up 10% from the same quarter last year.

The indies, as usual, are a bit more bullish than the pros. As a group, they're looking for 16% growth, compared with the Street's 8%. Unless they've updated their numbers, four sell-side analysts -- Cowan's Timothy Arcuri, Credit Suisse's Kulbinder Garcha, Citi's Glen Yeung and CLSA's Avi Silver -- still expect Apple to report a drop in iPad sales.

Last year, the pros were right and the indies wrong. The consensus was 24 million iPads, with the pros at 22.8 million and the amateurs at 25.5 million. The correct number, according to Apple, was 22.86 million.

We'll find out who was closest to the mark this year when Apple reports its Q1 1014 earnings after the markets close on Monday, Jan. 27 -- which happens to be the fourth anniversary of the iPad's unveiling in 2010.

Below: The individual analysts estimates, with the pros in blue and the indies in green. Thanks as always to Posts at Eventide's Robert Paul Leitao for pulling together the Braeburn Group numbers.

iPads pix

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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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