updated 01:15 pm EDT, Fri April 1, 2011
Tablet sales expected to accelerate in Apple Q3
An Apple touch panel supplier, Wintek, saw its sales increase 40 percent month-over-month in March, according to Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White. "We believe Wintek's March sales surge highlights the strong ramp for the iPad 2," he notes in a memo, "and we expect to get more details from the Apple supply chain over the next week as monthly sales from TPK and other suppliers are released." Wintek's average March growth rate in recent years has been about 16 percent.
Apple is expected to show sales of 27.4 million iPads in its 2011 fiscal year, and 37.5 million in FY2012. White argues that iPad 2 sales will continue to accelerate in Apple's June fiscal quarter, which began just this week. "Essentially, the iPad 2 was available in 26 countries before the end of March this year versus 19 countries for the iPad 1 by the end of July 2010, and 25 countries by the end of September 2010," he writes. "We believe the iPad 2 momentum at the end of March positions Apple well to benefit from a healthy uptick in demand for the iPad 2 in the June quarter. Given the continued iPad 2 stock-outs around the world, we expect the news flow surrounding the iPad 2 to remain positive over the next several weeks."
The analyst does warn though that current growth patterns are somewhat unusual. Beyond the issue of international releases, the iPad 1 launched on April 3rd 2010; this year's iPad 2 debuted on March 11th, almost a month ahead of what would've been a consistent schedule. Wintek's share of iPad 2 components is also unknown, making the supplier difficult to use as a barometer.