updated 11:30 am EST, Wed January 18, 2012
Number may prove 'conservative'
Apple should ship 48 million or more iPads in the calendar 2012 year, according to estimates from Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. The catalyst will allegedly be the iPad 3, predicted to be a "significant refresh" that should "help further differentiate from arguably the only real competitor in the market, Amazon's Kindle Fire, and not to mention the myriad of Android offerings out there," according to Wu. He in fact suggests that the 48 million number "could turn out conservative."
The iPad 3 is believed to be getting several major upgrades over the iPad 2. These include a quad-core processor, and a 2048x1536 display, which would double resolution. More recently the new tablet has been rumored as getting LTE 4G support, and the first official version of Siri beyond the iPhone 4S.
When the iPad 3 might ship is uncertain. A March date is the most commonly accepted target, although April has also been proposed as an option. The first-generation iPad shipped on April 3rd 2010, whereas the iPad 2 debuted on March 11th last year.