Apple will continue its robust growth for some time to come, according to the CEO of research firm Forrester.
"They'll be bigger than IBM next year, and they'll be bigger than HP the year after that," George Colony, who also founded the company, told Bloomberg. He predicted that Apple would eventually earn $200 billion in revenues, and post sales growth exceeding 50 percent through the next two years. Demand for the iPad and other Apple devices will fuel that expansion.
However, he also warned that a permanent departure by CEO Steve Jobs could darken Apple's rosy picture: "Remember, every two years, they have to fill that store with new stuff ... without Steve Jobs as the CEO, I think it will be much harder for them to do that."
Apple continues to dominate the mindshare, if not the market, for many mobile devices such as tablets. While the company has not yet released official sales figures for its iPad 2's first weekend of release, a selected number of analysts believe the company sold 500,000 to 600,000 units. In a March 8 research note, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicted that the iPad 2 would sell 1 million units faster than its first-generation predecessor, which took 28 days to reach that particular mark.
On March 14, the iPad's first day of wide release, eWEEK toured three Apple stores in Manhattan and found similarly long lines at each. Across the country, Apple's retail partners-including Best Buy, Walmart, Target, AT&T and Verizon-reported shortages and outright sellouts of the tablet.
As demonstrated by this week's CTIA conference in Orlando, however, Apple also faces growing competition in the devices and applications category. Many of the newer rivals, manufactured by companies such as Samsung and Motorola, come equipped with the new tablet-optimized Google Android 3.0 (code-named "Honeycomb") operating system. In addition, the business tablet audience may gravitate toward Research In Motion's BlackBerry-branded PlayBook tablet, a 7-inch device running a proprietary operating system.
Devices such as the upcoming HTC Evo View 4G, the resized Samsung Galaxy Tab and LG Electronic's G-Slate all boast powerful processors (dual-core, in many cases) and high-resolution screens. Paired with the growing number of applications and games available via the Android Marketplace, these devices all hope to carve away a piece of the tablet market.
Despite their presence, however, research firm IDC expects Apple to maintain tablet market share of 70 percent to 80 percent in 2011, powered largely by the iPad 2's performance. Forrester, it seems, also believes in Apple's ability to maintain an aggressive presence.