iPad shipments are outpacing those of iPhones and of DVD players, according to a research note, with a current sales rate of 4.5 million units per quarter.
Sales of Apple iPads are outpacing sales of both iPhones and DVD
players, according to an analyst note, and tablet computers are likely to
become the country's fourth-largest consumer electronics category, after
televisions, smartphones and notebooks. That raises the question of whether
competing manufacturers' upcoming tablet offerings will be able to make a dent
in Apple's lead.
"The iPad did not seem destined to be a runaway product success
straight out of the box," Bernstein Research analyst Colin McGranahan
wrote, according to CNBC.
any account, the iPad is a runaway success of unprecedented proportion."
The iPad's current sales rate is 4.5 million units per quarter, McGranahan
added, predicting that sales of the device will be about $9 billion in 2011.
The question now is whether Apple will be able to maintain that sales
momentum with new tablet competitors on the market. The Android-running Samsung
Galaxy Tab is scheduled to debut in fall 2010 on four carriers, and both
Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion are developing tablets that run
proprietary operating systems. In addition, Microsoft CEO
Steve Ballmer has promised that Windows-powered tablets will arrive by
Those manufacturers may be concerned about the iPad's possible
cannibalization of the traditional PC market. That idea gained widespread
attention in September, after Best Buy CEO
Brian Dunn was paraphrased in The Wall Street Journal as saying the iPad had
cannibalized more than 50 percent of the company's laptop sales; Dunn
later disclaimed that view,
but nonetheless the "cannibal" meme
spread across the Web.
While some analysts-notably NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker-have suggested
that reports of iPad cannibalization are greatly exaggerated, others assert
that the devices are forcing the traditional notebook market in a new direction.
"We expect tablets to continue to pressure PCs as more vendors launch
products (e.g., Dell Streak and Samsung Tab) and Apple expands its iPad
distribution," Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty wrote in a research
quoted by Fortune Magazine Sept. 17.
"Tablet cannibalization," she
reportedly wrote, is a significant factor in U.S.
notebook sales' 4 percent year-over-year decline in 2010.
That sales data came from the NPD Group, although Baker suggested a decline
in low-end notebook shipments was natural after "atmospheric" sales
Whether or not cannibalization is actually occurring, other tablet
manufacturers have a potentially long road ahead with regard to matching the
iPad's total sales. In order to preserve something of a first-mover advantage,
Apple is rumored to be developing a second-generation iPad, perhaps with a
dual-camera configuration for video conferencing. As far back as August, sources
such as Digitimes Research have also predicted a 7-inch iPad
due to hit the
market either later in 2010 or the first quarter of 2011.
Editor's Note: The
name of Microsoft's CEO has been corrected.