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Apple CEO Tim Cook. (Photo: Apple)
Apple CEO Tim Cook. (Photo: Apple)

Apple’s fiscal second quarter financial results blew through almost all of Wall Street’s expectations, with one notable exception: the company sold 12.6 million iPads, down 23 percent from the same period a year ago. Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts and journalists on a conference call discussing the news that the decline wasn’t unexpected, and that the company is still interested in pursuing the iPad.

iPadAir2-iPadMini3-Lockscreen-PRINTCook blamed part of the drop on inventory changes, but also said the popularity of the iPhone and Mac were partially at fault.

“Have we had cannibalization? The answer is yes,” Cook said. “We’re clearly seeing cannibalization from iPhone and on the other side from the Mac. Of course, as I’ve said before, we’ve never worried about that. It is what it is, that will play out, and at some point it will stabilize. I’m not sure precisely when, but I’m pretty confident that it will.”

But Cook doesn’t have any plans to give up on the tablet market. He said that he still has high hopes for the iPad, despite the slip in sales. Part of that confidence stems from Apple’s partnership with IBM, which is focused on generating enterprise-specific apps for Apple products and selling them to businesses. He also said that Apple is making “continued investments” in the iPad’s product pipeline that should boost sales.

And finally, he doesn’t think that the tablet market is saturated, because Apple’s research has shown that 40 percent of iPad purchasers in the U.S. are buying their first tablet, and 70 percent of buyers in China are buying their first tablet. To him, that points to a market that has yet to reach saturation, which means that there’s the potential for Apple to sell more iPads going forward.

Overall, the company is still doing quite well, with quarterly revenue and profits larger than those from Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and Google combined.

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