updated 03:40 pm EST, Tue March 9, 2010
iPad could outsell Kindle in three months
Apple could have the bestselling e-book reader of all time in just three months on the market, according to an estimate from FBR Capital analyst Craig Berger. He believes that talk of hardware-related delays from competing analyst groups were just "false alarms" and that that Apple is purportedly set to ship 5 million iPads just in the first half of 2010. At this rate, the tablet would push past Amazon's unofficial lifetime record of 3 million Kindles in just the three-month span between early April and the end of June.
The prediction is aggressive, as earlier researchers have frequently had Apple shipping just a few hundred thousand units in March and one million for all of April. Apple has officially pushed the international launch of the iPad to late April and hinted it would need more stock to cover the initial launch outside of the US. Regardless of actual supplies, Berger cautioned that moment-to-moment shipping quantities don't necessarily translate to actual sales as they can vary based on expanding or trimming inventory, expected seasonal patterns in sales, and other factors that companies have to predict in advance.
If accurate, the estimate would be a blow to competing e-reader makers as a whole. Many, such as Barnes & Noble, have been keen to tout popularity and sellouts but have seldom been willing to provide definitive numbers. Concerns over competitors exploiting the data have often been a major factor, but critics have noted that these devices have often been in low supply from the outset and have faced chronic shortages. Amazon was unable to maintain a reliable supply until last year due to these issues.
Aside from iPad predictions, Berger is also much more optimistic on iPods, expecting Apple to ship 9.3 million of the music players in the quarter ending this month. He has similarly increased estimates on desktops and notebooks to 1 million and 1.7 million each (up from 500,000 and 1 million). He only expects Apple to ship 6 million iPhones but cautions again that this would be an effort to keep inventory in check, not a direct reflection of demand.