SAN FRANCISCO—Market research firm iSuppli Corp. has raised its forecast for shipments of Apple Inc.'s iPad based on indications that component availability for the popular tablet is improving.
ISuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) said it now expects Apple to ship 13.8 million iPad units in 2010, up from an earlier forecast of 12.9 million units. The company also increased its forecast for 2011 iPad shipments to 43.7 million units from 36.5 million and increased its 2012 forecast to 63.3 million units from 50.4 million units, based in part on Apple bringing on additional suppliers in 2011.
In July, iSuppli boosted its 2010 iPad sales forecast to 12.9 million units, up from a previous forecast of 7.1 million.
Apple (Cupertino, Calif.) said in its earnings announcement for the company's fiscal fourth that it shipped 4.2 million iPads during the three-month period ending September 25. According to iSuppli, the pronouncement indicates that Apple has been able to overcome limitations in component supply so that it can ramp up production.
Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research for iSuppli, said in a statement that iSuppli's previous forecasts have noted that the only constraint on iPad shipments is production, not demand. The limiting factor has been the availability of key iPad components, including field-fringe switching LCD panels, projected capacitive touch screens and NAND flash, Alexander said.
"Despite ongoing yield issues, Apple's suppliers have steadily increased monthly production to meet Apple's demand," Alexander said. "Production rates are now on target to meet the expected strong fourth-quarter sales."
By end of year, iSuppli said it expects the iPad production rate to approach or exceed 2.5 million units per month.
IPad sales also are benefiting from improvements in Apple’s retail strategy, iSuppli said.
"In addition to its traditional channels, Apple now is expanding to sell the iPad through new retailers, including Amazon, Target, Verizon and Walmart," Alexander said. "Apple has moved more rapidly than expected to push the iPad out to new retailers, which will give it maximum retail presence during the critical holiday sales period."
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