Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reports: Apple Will Sell Eight Million iPads by 2012

An analyst with Needham & Company has projected that Apple will sell 2 million iPads this year with an additional 6M being sold in 2011. The sales will come at the expense of Apple’s iPod Touch, according to reports today.

Sales will begin moderately. The anticipated spike in sales will occur after “the arrival of a catalyst,” but the report did not specify what that incentive would be. The iTunes store worked before, and it may work again.

That is evidenced by reports of interactive textbooks headed to the iPad. The iPad also could appeal to people who have light computing requirements such as seniors.

In comparison, the iPhone was much more mass market. Over 1 million iPhones were sold within 71 days of its introduction, and sold over 8 million units last quarter. The iPhone has contributed remarkably to Apple’s revenues–without massively cannibalizing the sales of iPods. The iPad could be viewed as a substitute for the iPod Touch.

The thing to keep in mind is that this is only the first iteration of the iPad. There’s no shortage of speculation about what Apple may or may deliver when the iPad ships – from evidence of a camera to an “intelligent bezel.” We don’t know the entire story of what “it” is yet, or what it will become. The iPad could very well end up carrying other Apple products.

Whether those reports are accurate or not, they do prove one thing: there is no shortage of potential for the tablet category. Even if Google enters the market, increased category awareness and growth should only support Apple’s sales.

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