updated 02:55 pm EDT, Tue July 20, 2010
ABI expects 11m tablets sold in 2010
The iPad alone has tripled the likely sales for tablets this year, ABI researchers said. They now expect 11 million media-friendly tablets to ship in 2010, almost all of which will be Apple's model. Competitors could factor in but may miss their opportunity if they don't arrive by early September or sooner.
The tablet market isn't yet mainstream and might not reach that point until 2013, analyst Jeff Orr said. That growth may hinge almost exclusively on how many countries get the iPad, as it only sells the slate in several countries today and is adding just nine more this week. Challengers were to have already been on the market by now and spread that growth, but switches away from Windows and repeated delays have let Apple sell largely unopposed.
Intel may suffer the worst from the effects of the iPad and the category it's establishing, according to Orr: its attempt to push the Mobile Internet Device (MID) category has failed as the tablet is taking what share wasn't already consumed by smartphones. The chip designer has been trying to promote the category since about 2007 but has had little success as they neither have large screens nor the pocketability of a phone or an MP3 player.
The 11 million-unit estimate could be cautions, as Apple had already sold three million iPads in the 80 days after its April 3 launch and is likely to sell more each quarter as it adds countries and approaches the holiday sales spike.