The iPhone is about to surpass the iPad as Apple’s fastest-selling product

Holding on.
Holding on.
Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Now five years old, Apple’s iPad tablet is still the company’s fastest-selling product line of all time. But not for long. As iPad demand has slowed, its cumulative sales curve is likely to fall behind the iPhone’s within the next six months.

The iPad, launched in early 2010, set records as the fastest Apple product to hit 10 million shipments (during its first year); 100 million (third year); and 250 million (fifth year). But its trajectory has flattened. Shipments last quarter, which Apple revealed yesterday, fell 23% year-over-year to 12.6 million.

Cumulative iPhone iPad iPod shipments

Now in its sixth year, the iPad is struggling—especially relative to the iPhone. Approaching its eighth birthday, the iPhone has never experienced a year-over-year sales decline. In fact, sales of the iPhone are starting to pick up steam again.

Meanwhile, iPhone shipments hit 500 million cumulative units in early 2014, almost seven years after its launch. With sales slowing, it seems unlikely the iPad will reach that mark as quickly.

One big question now is how quickly the Apple Watch will sell, relative to the iPhone and iPad. The wrist computer has only been on sale for a few days, and Apple has reserved the right not to tell us how many it has sold. The company plans to group Apple Watch revenue into a segment called “Other Products” and—for now, at least—Apple will not break out quarterly unit shipments.