Analyzing the iPad's sales cycle

It's long been true that sales of Apple mobile products follow cycles. This started with the iPod, which, to this day, still displays a spike in sales around the holidays, and has become quite visible with the iPhone, which shows spikes in sales around every product refresh. Freelance analyst Benedict Evans has published a post about the cyclicality of the unit sales figures for all of Apple's mobile products and notes that "the iPad is now starting to become just as cyclical as the iPhone."

As you can see from Evans' chart at the top of this post, and as Evans states in his article, "sales are being driven by both the calendar season and the age of the product." Yesterday's earning call pointed out that iPad sales were down, but as Evans notes, "it's now a 9-month-old product" (in reference to the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini).

The bottom line of Evans' analysis is this: "You can't really tell how Apple is doing from the mid-cycle sales numbers. So much of the revenue and the momentum is determined by the December quarter that you really have to wait."

In other words, if you see any headlines this week forecasting doom for Apple, ignore them. They're probably just as accurate as the previous 62 death knells for Apple.