Apple iPad shipments could top out at 65 million in 2011, according to an estimate from DigiTimes, but an analyst is warning of potential dangers for Apple ahead.
Apple iPad panel shipments will top 65 million units in
2011, estimates DigiTimes. However, another analyst suggests that the iPad's
continuing success could start to affect the market for other Apple products,
notably the Mac and iPhone.
DigiTimes' 65-million-units figure comes from the combined
estimates for Apple's iPad parts suppliers, including LG Display, Samsung and
Chimei Innolux (CMI). "Market players noted that the 65 million unit shipment
goal indicates that Apple is very optimistic about the tablet PC market in 2011,
and it may also mean that Apple is overbooking panel capacity," reads a Dec. 29 report
on the publication's Website. The estimate includes both first-generation
and second-generation iPads, the latter of which has yet to make an official
appearance despite increasingly fervent conjecture.
However, at least one analyst feels the iPad's blockbuster
sales have the potential to negatively impact Apple's product line.
"The iPad has successfully integrated the functionality of a
slimmed-down notebook into a media player form factor and has effectively
rendered a significant portion of the Mac (and potentially the iPhone) product
family obsolete," Brian Marshall, an analyst with Gleacher & Company, wrote
in a Dec. 29 research note. "This presents a serious problem as iPhones and
Macs generated 65 percent of Apple's total revenue in CY09."
Moreover, Apple's long-term strategy of capitalizing on a
"first mover" advantage, in which it tries to define new markets via innovative
products, could also backfire at some future point.
"If Apple is unable to continue designing leading-edge
consumer products for mass markets, this would clearly negatively impact the
financial model and result in a lower target price for Apple shares," Marshall
added. "In our view, Steve Jobs is the -guiding light' and visionary leader
crucial to the continued product innovation at Apple."
In a bid to preserve its dominance of the tablet market in
2011, Apple is reportedly preparing its next-generation iPad for unveiling
sometime in January. On Dec. 10, Reuters posted an article suggesting that
front- and rear-facing camera modules would appear on that device, along with a
higher-resolution screen. That might help blunt increased competition on a
number of tablet fronts, including the growing family of Android-based devices
and Research In Motion's PlayBook, a 7-inch tablet focused primarily on the
enterprise. Microsoft is also reportedly planning a series of Windows-powered
tablets in conjunction with Intel's upcoming release of its Oak Trail
processor, which will supposedly provide better battery life for lightweight
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.