According to a new report from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, Apple has pushed iPad production to two million units a month, and it wants that number to be three million come 2011. Who in the world is buying this many iPads?
We reported the other day that iPad shipment delays had finally fallen to the 24 hour range, and without updated sales figures from Apple we even speculated that possibly demand had fallen. True, that was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but you did have to kind of wonder since Apple had stopped crowing about sales numbers for two months.
If Ms. Huberty of Morgan Stanley is correct in her analysis of Apple product suppliers, then Apple is burning up retail sales with this device. This beckons the question of just how long they can continue to sell at this pace. Are there really that many people out there clamoring for a tablet? Was just about every analyst and blogger in the world wrong about how badly people wanted a new form factor for computing?
Part of this has to be the fact that businesses seem to be taking to the device in unexpected numbers. In my other job, I work in a warehouse environment, and I’m the only one with an iPad, and, to be honest, I’m getting tired of having to ask people for it back as they run off down the aisles with it. True, laptops have always been mobile, but they aren’t the easiest thing in the world to carry around with you while on site, or moving around in a retail environment. With the iPad you can carry it one hand, check your inventory levels, set it down just about anywhere for half-a-second without worry of it being unbalanced and falling off, the number of potential business uses for the tablet form factor are pretty much endless.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the iPad is the perfect solution for businesses, but when you have the Apple marketing machine behind a device, it certainly helps to drive sales.
Looking forward to those three million units would like produced in 2011, you have to wonder when the iPad 2 kicks into those numbers. While the device was introduced in Jan. of this year, it didn’t ship until April for the Wi-Fi model and May for the 3G model. As Apple CEO Steve Jobs seems to like to keep things on an annual schedule, that’s when you can probably expect the second iteration of this device. Will we see demand creep even higher when it gets more features? More than likely.
There is room in the market for other tablets to be sure, but it does look like companies are going to have to work their behind off to try to catch up.
What say you? Is Apple really going to be able to sell 36 million iPads next year?