“What Apple means when it says it has ‘sold’ a product”

Erica Ogg, GigaOM:

It’s almost gospel in the mobile tech media and among mobile enthusiasts that Apple reports the actual number of iPads, iPhones (and Macs and iPods) it sells directly to consumers during each quarter in its earnings reports. Those numbers are often used disparagingly against other mobile companies when third-party market research firms like IDC report shipment estimates. Still, it’s difficult to get a totally accurate picture of the market; we’ve struggled with it here along with everyone else.

Good interpretation here, and worth really understanding: When Apple says it’s sold something, that may not mean what you think it means. The secret here is not only direct sales to the consumer, but also channel inventory. Click through for details.