Over 1 million iPod nanos shipped in 17 days, Apple faces ‘mammoth backlog’ of orders

“Apple shipped more than a million units of the flash-based nano in the last 17 days of the quarter, which means that shipments of its other iPod models came in lower than the number the company posted in its third quarter,” Troy Wolverton reports for TheStreet.com.

“But company officials refused to acknowledge that iPod shipments were disappointing. Regardless of the Street’s predictions, iPod sales met Apple’s own internal expectations, said Tim Cook, executive vice president in charge of the company’s worldwide sales and operations. And Cook said the iPod numbers reflect Apple’s move to wind down shipments of the iPod mini during the quarter. (Apple replaced the mini, previously its most popular iPod model, with the nano.) The nano apparently has been a huge hit, but that could be a double-edged sword for Apple. The company ended the quarter with a ‘mammoth backlog’ of nano orders, according to Cook. Blaming the situation on supply constraints, he added that he couldn’t forecast when the company would be able to meet demand for the product, meaning that Apple could potentially miss out on sales during the all-important holiday season,” Wolverton reports. “Still, company officials tried to put the situation in the best light. ‘The issue is a beautiful issue: Demand is staggering,’ Cook said on the call. ‘We’re working as fast as possible to get as many out there as we can.'”

Full article here.
Wolverton writes, “shipments of its other iPod models came in lower than the number the company posted in its third quarter.” Brilliant. Apple discontinued its most popular iPod, the iPod mini, and replaced it with the iPod nano that is in such demand that Apple can’t say when they’ll catch up. So, it’s only logical that “shipments of its other iPod models came in lower than the number the company posted in its third quarter.”

Related articles:
Apple Q4 05 earnings report: best quarter & best year in company history – October 11, 2005


  1. I do not think the backlog of orders will be a big problem. Those who would have to wait for their Nano may choose to wait, buy another iPod or buy a competitor’s product. My guess is that most people would buy another iPod, namely the 20 GB model that costs a little more than the 4 GB Nano.

  2. I bet Apple are shaking in their boots – having trouble keeping up with massive demand for a new product which outstrips demand for every rival product, oh no, how awful for them. Ask creative if they honestly wouldn’t want to be facing those sort of problems. Exactly.

  3. “Refused to acknowledge iPod sales were disappointing”

    Only because, in comments during the Q3 conference call, either Cook or Oppenheimer said that it would be unlikely for iPod sales growth to continue the rate of acceleration that has been the case for the last 18 months or so.

    We’re probably now entering a period where cumulative iPod numbers will double every 12 months instead of every six months, which means that Apple will probably sell around 34 million iPods in FY2006. Is this a bad thing? Depends on the mix – but at an average of $200 a unit, that $6.8 billion which is OK considering the last 12 months yielded $4.5 billion from the same source.

    If Apple can pull off the trick of selling around 5 million Macs over the same period, we could be looking at an FY that generate nearly $17 billion in sales, and puts another $1.7 billion in Apple’s piggy-bank.

    If that’s disappointing, I’ll live with it.

  4. Of course the new models of the iPod that will be annouinced today will be in the perfect position to take up the backlog of the nano AND make a larger profit for Apple too no doubt. Yes i’m sure Apple are crying into their upgraded powerbooks at that nano backlog NOT. Of course alternatively they could after today have a massive backlog on all iPod models and what a disaster that would be for them too eh. Those who CAN do, those who CAN’T, become analysts.

  5. There have been shortages and backlogs for almost every new iPod intro.

    Well, except the iPod photo, but still…

    Oh yeah, and the iPod U2 edition…

    Oh, and then there was the time…

    MaWo, ‘took’. As in, ‘Apple took its competition to the woodshed and whipped its a$$ in the digital download arena’.

  6. Wolverton and his snide insinutations again.

    What a fool.

    He makes a huge deal on Apple “disappointing” investor. The stock drop more than 10% in after hours trading. But then even as Wolverton is damning Apple with faint praise, bargain hunters rush in and start snapping up AAPL like no tomorrow. The trend continues in pre-market trading, and AAPL is trading at $48.19 at this moment. There’s a good chance that within the first hour of the regular session, it’ll be back up to $50.

    So much for AAPL disappointing. Wolverton is just another hack who only think he knows what he is talking about.

  7. Hey MDN!

    If Apple does top $50 or $51 a share today and close at those level, you guys should really consider calling out so-called financial geniuses like Wolverton out. Ridicule them like they really deserve. Heck, if Apple unveils something really great, the stock could close at another record high, which will make all the hoopla about the stock “tanking” even more short-sighted and silly.

    Seriously, if the stock closes in the 50s, Wolverton et al need to seriously be ridiculed for the blundering so-called analysts that they are.

  8. These numbers _ARE_ disappointing. It all depends upon your expectation.

    I expect the iPod sales numbers to increase sequentially quarter to quarter.

    In the quarter that just ended, Apple sold 6.4 M compared to 6.1 M from the previous quarter. Relatively flat considering previous growth ramps.

    Yet 1 M of those sales are from the nano, something that was not expected, and that was in the last 17 days of the quarter. So for the first 90 – 17 = 73 days, They sold 5.4 M and had that rate continued, actual iPod sales would have been 5.19 (at a rate of 71,111 per day).

    That’s not great considering this is Apple, back to school, with a FREE iPod mini being given away with the purchase of a laptop. So yeah, Apple sold 1 million nanos in 17 days, but boo that as investors, it didn’t blow away expectations, it just made the sales numbers tollerable.

    MDN word: year

  9. Apple faces ‘mammoth backlog’ of orders????
    Then why when one goes to the Apple store all ipods (except nano 4gb) are available within 24hours?
    Same at Amazon.
    That does not show a shortage.
    While out shopping yesterday I checked at a couple of local stores-they had plenty of all ipods; no shortages.

    Wonder what the shortage will be like for the new pink Madonna nano….perhaps a shortage…of buyers!!!!

  10. @me:

    And that’s why you never compare growth on consecutive quarters, but instead use the same quarter in the previous financial year.

    For instance, it’s ridiculous to compare the Jan-Mar quarter for a toy/game manufacturer like Hasbro to the Oct-Dec holiday quarter, simply because of Christmas.

    Equally, you don’t expect a (Northern hemisphere) Garden Centre to post bigger numbers in October than it did in July, because you don’t do a lot of work in the garden in the winter months.

    Just to prove the point…

    Improvement in iPod shipping numbers between Q3 and Q4 have been as follows…


    Q3: 304,000 units
    Q4: 336,000 units

    Growth of 10.53% sequentially.


    Q3: 807,000 units (182.89% growth against previous year)
    Q4: 2,016,000 units (500.00% growth against previous year)

    Growth of 134.42% sequentially – the tipping point year, plus the iPod mini comes into play.


    Q3: 6.151 million units (615.70% growth against previous year)
    Q4: 6.451 million units (219.99% growth against previous year)

    Growth of 4.81% sequentially.

    I’ll give you dollars to doughnuts now (twelve months ahead of the game) that the sequential quarter growth between Q3 and Q4 for FY2006 will only be about 2.75% to 3% – but we’ll be talking about a baseline of around 8 million units, so we’ll still be talking about more iPods being shipped in two quarters than were shipped between October 2001 and March 2005.

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