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Apple’s iPad sales climb at last thanks to a budget-priced model

Like many eternal verities, the notion that Apple never slashes prices to boost unit sales has lots of wiggle room. The company’s better-than-expected results for the quarter that ended in June included a 15% increase in iPad unit sales compared to the year-ago quarter—an impressive jump in any context, but particularly so, given that overall iPad sales have been sagging for years.

Apple doesn’t break out sales for individual iPad models. But that 15% increase in units sold resulted in only a 2% increase in revenue—which suggests that the $329 9.7-inch iPad that debuted in the spring has been a hit. As my colleague Mark Sullivan noted back then, the budget price looked like a bid to appeal to consumers who had resisted upgrading from earlier models as well as school systems that had increasingly been turning to cheap Chromebooks. (During Apple’s conference call about its results, Tim Cook said that iPad sales to schools were up 32% for the quarter compared to last year.)

Meanwhile, the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which emphasizes power over price, only shipped near the end of the quarter, which means that it’s too early to hazard any guesses about its long-term impact on overall iPad sales.

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