updated 09:40 pm EST, Tue December 28, 2010
LCD makers put Apple's iPad shipments at 65m
Apple could ship as many as 65 million iPads in 2011 based on the LCD orders it's placing, according to estimates from Tuesday night. LG Display is still said to be shipping the bulk of the tablet's displays, at 35 million, but frequent contributor Samsung and relative newcomer Chimei Innolux are each though to be pitching in 15 million of their own. Observers in the business told Digitimes this might be a positive sign for Apple's next iPad but also that it could represent an overcommitment.
It wasn't mentioned why Apple might try to order more than needed, but it has been known to order a large quantity of flash memory knowing that overstock would force prices down and let Apple buy in at a lower price. Alternately, companies may sometimes have suppliers prepare for more production than is actually necessary in case there's surprise demand or one of the component makers has a problem. iPad shipping numbers were low for the first few months as LG Display couldn't keep up with initial demand, leading to the Samsung deal.
If the estimates are close to Apple's actual shipping goals, it could help the iPad lead the tablet market for longer than thought. Analyst guesses have had Apple shipping roughly 40 million iPads in 2011, and delivering almost two thirds more could keep it the market leader if Android and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets don't keep pace.
Shipments for 2010 alone could also be higher than expected. LG and Samsung combined are thought to have delivered 3.7 million iPad displays just in November, and combined with past production may have seen Apple take 16.76 million iPads through all of 2010. The data is unconfirmed, as is the 2011 figure, but if true it would see Apple receiving more iPads in the fall than the spring and summer combined, when it took 7.5 million.