AAPL

Apple Maintains Huge Lead in Tablet Market Share, Even as iPad Sales Slip

As Apple announced its third quarter earnings yesterday after the closing bell, it disclosed that iPad sales numbered 13.28 million for the June quarter, indicating a drop off of 9.2% year-over-year. Despite the disappointing numbers, Apple remains confident about the iPad's future.

iPad sales fall, iPad still leads market

During yesterday's earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook said that iPad sales met Apple's internal expectations, but he realized they didn't meet many investors' expectations. He pointed to several factors - "our sales were gated in-part by a reduction in channel inventory and in-part by market softness in certain parts of the world. For example IDC’s latest estimate indicates a 5% overall decline in the U.S. tablet market, as well as a decline in the Western European tablet market in the June quarter."

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IDC's Tablet Sales Pessimism Grows

Earlier this month, IDC (International Data Corporation) predicted an industry-wide slump in tablet sales for 2014 and into 2015. The market research firm's pessimism stems from disappointing sales and a dwindling year-over-year growth. Even Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), which still leads in overall sales, saw a -16.1% year-over-year growth from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014. Now IDC is lowering expectations again.

iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro

IDC released new projections on Thursday in which it lowered its expectations on 2014 sales of tablets and 2-in-1s from 260.9 million units to 245.4 million. This would represent a 12.1 percent year-over-year growth, which is a far cry from 2013's 51.8 percent.

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Apple's iPad Finallly Comes to Japan's Largest Carrier

On Wednesday Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Japan's largest mobile carrier, NTT DOCOMO, announced that the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display would both be available on the DOCOMO network early next month.

NTT DOCOMO to carry iPad Air and mini with Retina display

According to the press release, both models will officially be available on June 10th, but pre-orders will begin on June 2nd through the carrier's website.

The move has been anticipated by industry analysts ever since NTT DOCOMO added the iPhone to its lineup last September, after having initially held off. A growing exodus of customers changed the company's decision.

Will the iPad Push AAPL Over $300 Per Share?

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone to argue with the notion that Apple as a company and in turn, AAPL stock, has been on a steady road of success and good fortune. AAPL, which has more than doubled in value, is currently trading at around $227 per share. Many analysts rate the stock's value well above $250 per share. With the iPad ready to hit shelves in just a few weeks, will another potentially successful product push Apple stock over the $300 mark?

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As mentioned above, it isn't uncommon to find analysts rating Apple stock well above $250. Some recent analyst values include: Piper Jaffray ($284), Broadpoint AmTech ($280), Kaufman Brothers ($253) and Deutsche Bank and Canaccord Adams ($250).

As a recent StreetInsider.com article points out, however, those projected values are based on

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