Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Undershooting the New iPad

By Eric Jackson
RealMoney Contributor

3/15/2011 10:00 AM EDT
Click here for more stories by Eric Jackson

Most analysts expect that sales of Apple's(AAPL - commentary - Trade Now) iPad 2 over the weekend have exceeded those of a year ago, when the first version of the product was released. Chances are, though, that these estimates are way below the actual numbers Apple will soon report.

Last year, there certainly were people lined up to buy the iPad, and Apple sold 300,000 in the first 24 hours. It was one of the most successful new product launches ever. Ever since iPad 2 debuted 10 days ago -- a presentation for which Steve Jobs made an unexpected appearance -- there has been excitement that this version might even do better than the original.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster said Friday that, based on the lines we saw that day, he was upping his estimate of weekend iPad 2 sales to 500,000 units. A year ago, the Apple analyst was actually one those who were more bullish about the first iPad. While some initially said that Apple would sell only 1 million units for 2010, Munster came out in March with a massive estimate of 5.6 million units for the year.

Yet, less than a month later, Munster backtracked. The initial launch of iPad 1 seemed below Munster's estimates, so he cut his full-year forecast to 4.3 million iPads.

Well, last week, Apple announced that they sold 15 million iPads in 2010.

It's déjà vu all over again. The Wall Street analysts have it all wrong. iPad 2 is likely to sell far more units over this first weekend, and for all of 2011, than what anyone expects. Bloomberg reported last week that the analysts' consensus was for Apple to sell 600,000 iPad 2s this weekend, and 35 million in all of 2011.

I believe Apple will soon say they achieved sales of 2 million units in the first 24 hours. What's more, I believe they will do 100 million iPad 2s for the full year.


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