Given the size of the tablet market, Cook's bullishness comes as no surprise. "We continue to view the tablet market as huge," he said on the call. "We see it as a large opportunity for us."
Apple now has four tablets available for sale, starting in price at $299 with the iPad mini. Conversely, Google (GOOG) and Amazon (AMZN) can both compete with Apple on price, but only Google can compete on app ecosystem. However, Apple has more than 450,000 apps solely dedicated to the iPad, whereas Google has never broken down the amount of apps for Android smartphones and tablets.
Research firm IDC notes that the tablet market will top the PC market and that while Apple's iOS tablets still had 32.4% of the market as of the end of the second-quarter, Android devices will surpass that in volume. However, Cook, as he has stated previously, said he doesn't care as much about market share as he does usage share. "We are not solely focused on unit share as I've said many times, but we're focused on usage in customer's side, the loyalty and other things that are very important to us."
One caveat investors and consumers should note is the availability of the iPad mini with Retina Display. On the earnings call, Cook noted he wasn't sure if Apple would have enough units to meet demand. "It's unclear whether we will have enough [iPad mini with Retina Display] for the quarter or not," Cook said. "We now have mini - we will have but you really don't know the demand until after you start shipping and so we'll see how that goes." Any potential shortfall in supply could hamper Apple's chances for an "iPad Christmas," but given Cook's reiterated bullishness on iPad sales, that may wind up being a small issue.
The Apple CEO has repeatedly hammered home his point that the tablet market is ultimately going to be bigger than the PC market. As long as Apple keeps innovating in the tablet market, staying ahead of its competition, it should get more than its share of the market.
By the looks of it, it seems that Santa Claus will help Apple deliver that.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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