SAN FRANCISCO—Market research firm iSuppli Tuesday (July 20) boosted its 2010 sales forecast for Apple Inc.'s iPad tablet, saying it now expects Apple to ship 12.9 million units this year, up from a previous forecast of 7.1 million.
ISuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) said it expects iPad shipments to increase to 36.5 million in 2011 and 50.4 million in 2012.
Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research for iSuppli, said through a statement that demand for iPads is expected to vastly exceed supply through the 2010 holiday season. She said iSuppli's research indicates that the only limitation on iPad sales is now production capacity, not demand.
"Apple’s acceleration of its component demand indicates that the company has raised its iPad production target for 2010," Alexander said. "Our latest research indicates there is much higher production than previously expected for two key components: LCD panels and NAND flash."
Production capacity for the iPad’s projective capacitive screen is increasing daily with new vendors entering the market, expanding production at existing sites and improvements in yield rates at the established producers, iSuppli said. While yields on the finished screens reportedly remain well below a desirable level of 90 percent, the expansion in capacity should provide sufficient touch panels to meet iSuppli’s iPad shipment target, the firm said.
ISuppli said it expects Apple to refresh the iPad's features in April 2011. Likely additions will embrace an internal camera and expansion of the product line, potentially including additional screen sizes., the firm said.
With nearly 84 percent share in 2010, Apple’s iPad virtually owns the tablet market, and the device is expected to dominate at least through 2012, according to iSuppli. Much of the competition delayed launching rival offerings following the iPad debut to allow time to reconfigure products, said the firm.
Both Asus and Acer are expected to release tablets in the fourth quarter of 2010, joining the likes of Dell, JooJoo, and Germany’s WePad. iSuppli said. But competition from Apple competitors is not expected to be significant before 2011, when Hewlett-Packard and others are expected to enter the fray, according to iSuppli.
ISuppli's iPad forecast is detailed in the firm's new report on portable and desktop computing systems, available for sale through the firm's website.