updated 10:20 am EDT, Fri April 2, 2010
iSuppli sees iPad at 7m now, 14m in 2011
Apple could sell as many as 7.1 million iPads in 2010 alone, iSuppli estimated today. Analysts believed that a strong wave of early adopters and those simply drawn to a tablet design should be enough to push millions of iPads each quarter this year. It would be enough to at least temporarily overcome the lack of Adobe Flash and could actually be conservative if Apple upgrades features or cuts prices quickly, the study creators said.
As price or feature changes are more likely in 2011, when Apple will also have the advantage of a full calendar year, iSuppli predicted that iPad shipments could more than double to 14.4 million next year. In this view, the device would continue on to reach 20.1 million in 2012.
The apparent breakthrough would come in part by simply being the first major company in the category. While tablet computers have existed for years, the iPad would be the first to have one that would be both low cost and seen as an alternative existing computers. Most tablet PCs have been convertible tablet notebooks that cost hundreds of dollars more than the Apple slate, and convertible netbooks are often both as expensive as an iPad and limited by their sizes and battery lives; an ASUS Eee PC T101MT, for example, costs about $509 and weighs five pounds.
Having an extremely intuitive interface will also help, research director Rhoda Alexander said. By making a tablet usable to the widest possible audience, Apple could get past the limitations that have kept Windows-based tablet PCs a niche market. The firm's main obstacle would be content creation, as it would either need to improve this side or else keep users interested in consuming content.