First, only Apple knows why they didn't share iPad mini sales figures, so what follows are just my thoughts. Instead of splitting the mini from the fourth-generation iPad, they reported a combined three million units for the iPad mini and fourth generation iPad. So why didn't they split it out? At the highest level, I think (again, only my thoughts) it's as simple as this:
Beyond that simple explanation though, I believe that reporting a sales mix would be a lose-lose proposition for Apple. By way of example, here are some theoretical press headlines, based on a few mini/full-size iPad sales splits.
mini: 500,000; iPad: 2,500,000
- "Apple's new mini a flop; sells only 500K units"
- "Apple's lost the magic touch post-Jobs; new mini tanks"
- "New fourth-generation iPad underwhelms; doesn't reach 3mil units mark"
mini: 1,500,000; iPad: 1,500,000
- "Customers confused by iPad options; pick both equally"
- "iPad mini cannibalizes iPad sales"
- "Full size iPad sales impacted by release of mini; margins likely to dip"
mini: 2,500,000; iPad: 500,000
- "New mini succeeds, at huge cost to full-size iPad"
- "Margin impact of iPad mini sales success will harm profitability"
- "iPad mini roars to life; is the full-size iPad dead?"
- "Full-size iPad on life support after horrid opening weekend"
Clearly there's some (OK, a ton of) exaggeration in these fake headlines, but the summary level is certainly true:
- If iPad mini sales exceeded iPad sales, then that's a margin hit, and a warning sign on full-size iPad's future.
- If the sales were equally split, that's still a margin hit, and possibly a sign of customer confusion.
- If iPad mini sales were substantially under iPad sales, then the new product's a flop, and Apple's lost their touch.
So even ignoring Apple's track record of reporting sales by family, it seems there's no upside to splitting the sales figures. Given the lack of a good interpretation for any split, as a shareholder I'm happy they're reporting a lump sum figure.
Note that this does not make the iPad the equivalent of Amazon's Kindle: Amazon has never, to my recollection, reported any exact Kindle sales figures.