“Apple reported a 19% year-over-year drop in iPad unit shipments and a full 22% year-over-year drop in iPad revenue, making it the company’s worst-performing business unit by far,” Ashraf Eassa writes for The Motley Fool. “Although these results are quite disappointing — making it increasingly difficult to have confidence in the future of this product line — the business isn’t in as dire shape as it appears.”

“Apple shipped 13.08 iPads, but channel inventories were down 700,000 units, which suggests that actual demand was more like 13.78 million units. Performing the same math for the year-ago quarter, Apple increased channel inventory by 900,000 units, meaning that underlying customer demand was 15.22 million units,” Eassa writes. “To be clear, demand was still down year-over-year and that’s far from ideal, but adjusting for these channel inventory dynamics, it looks like the decline was ‘just’ 9.4%.”

“Cook tried to reassure investors that the company has “some exciting things coming on iPad” and that he is ‘very optimistic about where [Apple] can take the product,'” Eassa writes. “Unfortunately, Apple management has been bullish about the iPad business for a while now, but it’s still hard to see where the bottom will ultimately be and even harder to predict how much the business can grow once it hits that bottom.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Down 9.4% YOY with no new product for holiday shopping season leads us to believe that we’re at or very near the bottom and that iPad is poised to return to growth with the next batch of updates.