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iSuppli: Apple will ship 12.9 million iPads in 2010

Posted: 23 Jul 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:iPad? Apple? iSuppli?

With Apple Inc. gearing up its iPad component orders with suppliers across Asia and consumer demand for the iPad booming, research firm iSuppli Corp. has likewise pulled up its shipment forecast. iSuppli predicts that Apple will ship 12.9 million iPads in 2010, an increase from the previous forecast issued April 2nd of 7.1 million units. Furthermore, shipments will increase to 36.5 million in 2011 and 50.4 million in 2012.

Director of monitor research for iSuppli, Rhoda Alexander says, "The iPad is shaping up to be the 'Tickle Me Elmo' of the 2010 holiday season, with product demand expected to vastly exceed available supply."

As iSuppli stated in its initial forecast, the key to continuing success will be how quickly Apple responds to issues as they arise and whether the company can align suppliers to meet demand needs. The firm's latest research indicates there is much higher production than previously expected for two key components: LCD panels and NAND flash.

Original iPad forecast by iSuppli was by far the most aggressive outlook for the product among industry analysis and market research firms issuing outlooks, at the time. iSuppli, in April, characterized its forecast as conservative, and noted that Apple could easily ship higher volumes. Subsequent events have shown iSuppli's characterization to be correct. iSuppli also believes that Apple can hit the new unit sales figure within the 19 countries it has already announced for 2010 distribution.

Apple could, arguably, further increase its 2010 production goals, but it risks sacrificing some quality control in the effort. At present, iSuppli estimates that Apple will stay close to the existing production targets, leaving room for further expansion in 2011.

Predicted upgrades, competition

To derive continuous sales growth, Apple undoubtedly will refresh the iPad's features in April 2011. Additional changes will probably embrace an internal camera and expansion of the product line, potentially including additional screen sizes.

Much of the competition delayed launching rival offerings following the iPad debut to allow time to reconfigure products. Asus and Acer will likely release consumption tablets in the fourth quarter of 2010joining the likes of Dell, JooJoo, and Germany's WePadbut competition from Apple competitors is not expected to be significant before 2011, when Hewlett-Packard and others are expected to enter the battle.

The major challenge for Apple competitors will revolve less around hardware but relate more to the suite of applications that can be paired with the hardware. Just like the iPhone, the rest of the market is busily playing catch-up to the iPad at the moment. With nearly 84 percent share in 2010, Apple's iPad virtually owns the market, and the device is expected to dominate at least through 2012.

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