Apple Reports Disappointing Mac Sales Despite Retina MacBook Release: 4 Million Units Sold In Q3 2012

Analysts have been sharply divided in providing estimates for Apple’s third quarter earnings report. And it would appear that this time, predictions of a mild third quarter were correct. Apple saw a bit of a plateau in Mac sales, with 4 million Macs, 26 million iPhones, and 17 million iPads sold in Q3 2012. That’s compared to last quarter’s sales of 4 million Macs, 35.1 million iPhones, and 11.8 million iPads.

The main question was whether or not Apple’s MacBook Pro Retina would pick up declining Mac sales. As you can see from the numbers, it appears that 5.1 million pixels does not a spike in sales make, as this represents only a 2 percent increase in sales over the year-ago quarter. At the same time, the Retina MBP was only available for a short portion of the quarter being reported, so it’s possible we’ll see a spike in Q4.

On the earnings call, Tim Cook explained that the slowed growth in Mac sales has a lot to do with the timing of their portable announcement this year. It only left a few weeks for buyers to enjoy the new models, as opposed to the February announcement last year.

We pulled together professional estimates of 68 Apple analysts, as compiled by Fortune, who said that Apple would sell around 4.4 million Macs, 29 million iPhones and 15.7 million iPads.

As you can see, iPhone sales are down slightly from Q2 (and 3 million short of analyst expectations), while Mac sales stayed almost exactly the same as last quarter. If you remember, Q2’s 4 million Macs sold was down about 1 million units from the first quarter.

But after spending a full quarter on the market, the iPad is selling quite well, with 17 million units sold this quarter. That’s a whopping 84 percent increase from the same quarter last year, and a 5.2 million unit gain over last quarter.

Analysts also expected iPod sales figures to go down from last quarter’s 7.7 million, which is to be expected outside of gift-buying season. On this point, as well, they were right. Apple sold 6.8 million iPods in Q3 2012, a 10 percent unit decrease from last year.