Apple posted its fourth quarter results today, and and for the third straight quarter reported declining iPad sales. During Apple's call with financial analysts, Cook addressed the issue.

"If you back up and look at it, we've sold 237 million [iPads] in just over four years," he told an analyst, repeating an argument he's made before: Apple sold more iPads in its first four years of existence than it did iPhones during its first four years.

What's more, said Cook, Apple worked to reduce channel inventory prior to last week's introduction of new iPads. He also suggested that analysts' focus on quarterly numbers, as opposed to annual numbers, provides an unrealistic view of the overall strength of the iPad.

"I view it as a speed bump, but not a huge issue," Cook said. "That said, we want to grow. We don't like negative numbers."

Cook disputes the assertion from some analysts that the tablet market is saturated. When Apple looks at market research data, 50-70 percent of buyers in strong growth markets for the iPad are buying their first tablet. "That's not a saturated market," he said.

"What you do see is that people hold on to their iPads longer than their phones," Cook said. "We've only been in this business for four years. We don't know what the upgrade cycle will be."

Cook also talked about "cannibalization" of iPad sales to the Mac and to the iPhone. "I'm fine with that, by the way," he said.

Cook sees strong growth potential for the iPad as an enterprise device, especially thanks to Apple's recent partnership with IBM. Over the long term, said Cook, "the iPad has a great future."

Are you planning on getting a new iPad, or is the one you've got still working out okay? Let me know.