Rumours about new products were to blame for slower than expected iPad sales, Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive has told investors.
A slowdown in iPad sales over the last quarter was one of the reasons Apple's fourth quarter earnings missed analysts expectations. Apple last night announced profits of $8.22bn for the last quarter, slightly behind the $8.3bn predicted by market experts.
Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones in the three months up to September 29th, an increase of 58 per cent and more than forecast. However, iPad sales of 14 million - an increase of 26 per cent, were lower than expected.
Cook told investors that this was partly because of seasonal variations but added: "In addition to all of that, it’s clear that customers delay purchases of tablets due to new product rumors, and these intensified in August and September."
When Apple reported slower than expected iPhone sales in its third quarter results, in July, it blamed rumours then as well. At the time Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer, said: "We're reading the same speculation about a new iPhone as you are and we think this has caused some delay in purchasing."
The iPad was first announced in January 2010 and released in April that year. Apple launched the iPad 2 in March 2011 and announced the third generation iPad a year later, in March this year. But after that launch rumours persisted that Apple was planning another smaller iPad, to be released before the end of 2012.
On Tuesday, those rumours were confirmed when Apple announced the iPad mini at an event in San Jose, California. The company also unveiled a new, fourth generation iPad.
At the San Jose event Tim Cook revealed that Apple has now sold a total of 100 million iPads. That number tipped off some analysts that iPad sales for this quarter were likely to be lower than expected, leading some to revise their earnings expectations.
Apple TV, which the company has long described as a "hobby", sold 5.3 million over the last 12 months. Cook said the device, which delivers TV programmes, film rentals and other content, was now "a beloved hobby". Apple has integrated the set-top box with its other products so that owners of iOS devices or Apple Macs can stream content directly to a television.
Sales of the iPod, the product range that has brought Apple devices to many new users over the past 10 years, continue to decline. Apple sold 5.2 million iPods in the last quarter, a decline of 19 per cent on the same period a year earlier.