updated 09:40 am EDT, Thu September 23, 2010
Numbers stand to dwarf Mac
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has substantially raised his iPad forecast for 2011, pushing it from 14.5 million to 21 million. Such is the tablet's success that it's in a position to outsell the Mac, the analyst argues. "We believe the iPad represents a meaningful product category for Apple as a secondary computing device for those who already have a primary computer, a primary device for those who could not previously afford a Mac, and the first Apple product that will be a success in the enterprise," he says.
Several factors are said to be aiding the device, including early popularity with enterprise, which could become the largest driver of shipments. As far back as June, Munster notes, Apple revealed that over 50 percent of the Fortune 100 were testing or deploying the iPad. The device is also said to be gaining accessibility with the public, for instance through better supply and expanded Best Buy sales.
In recent weeks Apple has expanded the iPad's reach to several more regions, including China and five Latin American countries. Because of how "price-sensitive" the markets are, Munster suggests that the iPad is likely to be used by some people there as a cheaper alternative to a Mac, instead of a complement to one. A 16GB Wi-Fi iPad costs several hundred dollars less than the cheapest MacBook.
Munster observes that Apple should control 94 percent of the global tablet market in 2010, taking up an estimated 10.7 million out of 11.3 million in industry sales. Competition is thought to be coming, though, in the form of the Android 3.0 platform, which should be designed with tablets in mind. Piper's official price target for Apple stock has meanwhile been raised to $390.