Analysis: Three ways of looking at Apple’s slowing iPad sales

Click to enlarge. Blue = Wall Street’s consensus, Green = Amateurs’

FORTUNE — “The iPad sales drop,” wrote BCG analyst Colin Gillis in a haiku to clients Thursday, “should draw investor focus, more than iPhone sales.”

Three of my favorite Apple (AAPL) writers did as Gillis suggested, focusing on the iPad’s sales drop from three different angles.

MG Siegler, now a partner with Google Ventures, channeled Tim Cook, doing a better job of taking the long view than Apple’s CEO did:

In concluding his iPad thoughts on the earnings call, Cook noted that he continued to believe the iPad would eclipse the PC market in terms of sales. Tim Cook is an operations guy. He has long handled Apple’s supply chain perhaps better than anyone has ever handled a supply chain in the history of industry. When he makes such a prediction, it’s not to be taken lightly. He has Apple’s supply chain ready and primed for such a day.”  See The Astonishing Disappearing iPad.

Jean-Louis Gassée, former head of Apple’s Macintosh division, saw the shortfall coming in his Monday Note, filed three days before the results were announced:

“Despite the inspiring ads, Apple’s hopes for the iPad overshot what the product can actually deliver. Although there’s a large numbers of iPad-only users, there’s also a substantial population of dual-use customers for whom both tablets and conventional PCs are now part of daily life. I see the lull in iPad sales as a coming down to reality after unrealistic expectations, a realization that iPads aren’t as ready to replace PCs as many initially hoped.” See The iPad Is a Tease.

Benedict Evans, now at Andreessen Horowitz, looks at all these devices simply as different-size pieces of glass with different jobs-to-be-done:

“Looking at tablets and smartphones as mobile devices in a new category that competes with PCs may be the wrong comparison — in fact, it may be better to think of tablets, laptops and desktops as one ‘big screen’ segment, all of which compete with smartphones, and for which the opportunity is just smaller than that for smartphones. And so tablets will over time eat away at laptop and desktop sales just as laptops ate away at desktop sales, but the truly transformative new category is the smartphone.” See iPads and tablet growth.

UPDATE: Make that five ways of looking at the iPad. Two more very smart takes on the issue by two Bens:

See also: Apple’s beat and 7:1 split: What the analysts are saying – update

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