Don't Forget About the iPad, Folks

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In reporting on Apple's ( AAPL) robust second-quarter earnings, it was all iPhone, all the time.

"Apple Rides iPhone Frenzy" and "Apple's earnings surge as iPhone sales top target," said The Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch in representative headlines. Here's the deal, though: the iPad, often mentioned as mere afterthought (if that), might determine Apple's next few quarters. It offered one cause for concern, harnessed to two legitimate caveats and a huge bit of opportunity.

That's complex, risky stuff...and the media all but skipped over it.

In a fairly sizeable story entitled "Apple rises after iPhone boosts profit," Reuters, for example, does not even mention the iPad. Not once. Investor's Business Daily mentions the iPad, but only to pass along raw sales numbers, growth rates and happy comments from Apple officials.

Barron's got right to the concern, pointing out that Apple "sold 11.8 million iPads, lower than some estimates for 12 million to 13 million units." Barron's unfortunately left it at that.

But there were two big caveats: the latest incarnation of the iPad did not launch until late in the quarter. Consumers were probably waiting for it, as often happens when Apple introduces advanced versions of their products. Moreover, Apple apparently had problems pacing production with demand, particularly with new iPad's high-resolution screen.

There is also opportunity moving forward for the iPad and Forbes hits the opportunistic nail right on the head. They point to the iPhone's giddy sales numbers in China, before remarking: "The New iPad has not yet been released there." Fasten your seat belts for that -- but you wouldn't know to with the media's narrow frame focus on the iPhone.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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