I remember back when the device was announced and everybody was trying to figure out how many it will sell in 2010. Figures started from as little as 1 million to the then bullish 5 million devices. I remember thinking, why can't they just sell 10 million.
It's been the second month in a row Apple sells a million units. Actually Apple has managed to sell virtually everything that is produced, the demand is that high and shows no sign of stopping. A lot of people underestimated the device before its launch and a lot of people had their opinion changed from "I am not sure how this will fit into my lifestyle" to "I now can't imagine going on without it". This turnaround in opinion took a few years with the iPhone. Apple had to add a lot of features and software capabilities to match the needs of the fast majority of people and turn the critics around. With the iPad, the turnaround just happened in a matter of weeks. That turnaround has suddenly added a lot of potential early buyer. It's a tidal wave and there is just nothing else even close on the market.
Back to sales. If Apple does nothing but just keep production at the current level and sells 1 million units each month, that will ad up to a total of 9 million units this year. This now seams like a very conservative scenario, because several more factors could push sales even higher:
- Apple is rumored to be increasing production to 2.5 million units a month starting in June.
- Several more rollouts into other countries are scheduled till the end of this year.
- The earliest quasi competitors would not show up for another 3-4 months, and Android based, more closer competitors till at least the end of this year if not early 2011.
- Sales so far have happened in the historically 2nd lowest sales quarter - Q2. Thing will significantly pick up after september.
- As sales of the iPads began to reach ears of the big company CIO, web content providers will move even faster towards HTML 5, erasing the FLASH argument against the iPad
- The Fall iPhone OS 4.0 software update will be a major sales boots as it significantly increases the capabilities of the device.
- Developers are still surprising with awesome new iPad apps that turn heads. Just today Pulse showed up. The iPad catalogue stands at 5000 today will likely pick up significantly after WWDC..
- A whole new class of OS 4.0 Application will start to roll out later this year.
These factors will only push iPad sales beyond the current 1 million a month making the 10+ million iPads in 2010 a prediction I will get comfortably behind.
Actually the 10 Million is my low end estimate with the high end being Apple selling almost everything it can produce till the end of the year, which means around 15 million iPads.