Depending on who you talk to, the iPad is either destined to become a footnote in gadget history, or it may be about to start shipping a staggering number of units every month.
As a technology blogger, one of the things you have to love is when reports come out at virtually the same time that say two wildly different things. It just makes your job that much more interesting, and it also goes to show that no one really knows what the heck is going on. Such was the case this past week when two different stories came out about future sales of the iPad that couldn’t have been more different if they tried.
Fortune took a look at a new study from Forrester Research that says things are about to get really bad for the iPad. Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester, said in her report summary, “Consumers didn’t ask for tablets. In fact, Forrester’s data shows that the top features consumers say they want in a PC are a complete mismatch with the features of the iPad.” Along these lines, she is projecting that only 3.5 million tablet computers will sell this year. Not just from Apple mind you, but from all manufacturers combined. Seeing as on May 31st, Apple announced it had already sold two million iPads, that seems like a rather steep decline to us.
So, going by Ms. Epps’ projections, that means that if Apple was the lone company making tablets, it would sell 215,000 units a month between now and the end of the year. Someone better inform Steve Jobs of this because it appears he may have over ordered on screens …
According to DigiTimes, Apple is ramping up to ship 1.2 million iPads a month beginning in July. This means that by the end of the year there will be a surplus of 5,910,000 iPads sitting around in Apple Stores and some Best Buys. Wow … will we even be able to walk into the stores for the piles of iPads blocking the entrances?
Lets face it, I’m going to take DigiTimes word over Forrester’s any day because they have a proven track record of knowing what the parts manufacturers are actually shipping. And I’m also going to trust Apple has a better idea of the pulse of consumers because they simply don’t make miscalculations of that magnitude. The iPad is going to be huge come the fall when students return to school, and sales for the winter holiday gift giving season are probably going to be astronomical.
The scary thing? Assume all of the iPads are the 16GB Wi-Fi version which sells for $499 (it just makes math easier), that means you are looking at gross sales of $598.8 million a month at the retail level per month. Between now and the end of the year? That works out to $3.592 billion in retail sales.
… I think I’m going to go cry in the corner now.
What say you? Are iPad sales about to drop like a rock?