Analyst: Apple to sell 8 million iPads in 2 years

Industry analysts are predicting that the Apple iPad will see moderate sales after its initial release later this year, with sales ballooning up to 8 million units total by 2012.

Needham Company’s Charlie Wolf released a new research note predicting Apple will sell 2 million units in 2010, and up to 6 million iPads in 2011.

Tech prophets can’t seem to agree on the exact number of iPads that will be sold this year, with IDC analyst Richard Shim noting between 4 to 5 million could ship by the end of the year.  Some bloggers have boldly predicted 10 million units will sell in 2010, but that number seems a bit inflated.

By 2015, according to ABI Research, almost 60 million units will be shipped per year.

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Eventually, the Apple iPad may end up facing competition from the rumored Microsoft Courier tablet as well as Chrome powered tablet devices. The Chrome Google OS is expected to be used on many netbooks and other portable devices in the future. 

Apple fans have applauded the iPad, while critics have had plenty of negative things to say about Apple’s latest gadget.

I’m interested to see how the iPad cuts into other Apple products, with analysts positing that the iPod Touch could lose a significant number of customers.  I think consumers looking for a portable tablet device will look at the iPad, while others looking for an MP3 player with additional benefits will still choose the iPod Touch.

Netbooks have grown in popularity over the past 3 years due to high consumer demand for low-price, portable computers, but the tablet device category might just be the next big thing.  The actual criteria to be a tablet is unknown, but ABI said it must have a touchscreen ranging from 5-11 inches, Wi-Fi and the ability to play video games.  Apple, HP, Lenovo, and other manufacturers have products that also meet the “tablet” definition.

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