iPad 2, Verizon iPhone Set Up Apple Well for 2011
Apple's iPad and iPhone products alone have set up the company for a rewarding 2011, according to anecdotal evidence and prognostications from industry analysts.
Apple launched its iPad in April and iPhone 4 in June and both products were instant sensations among Apple fans.
The iPad, which sold 300,000 units the day it was launched and 4.2 million in the last quarter alone, drew many new consumers to Apple because it was the first product of its kind that delivered the promise of tablet computing without the clunkiness of past efforts.
The iPhone 4, with its new FaceTime video chat application, multitasking and other new capabilities, sold 1.7 million units in its first few days of launch in June.
Largely on the strength of the iPhone 4 and iPad, Apple for its fourth quarter posted revenues of $20.34 billion and a net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion. Apple also sold 14.1 million iPhones for the quarter, buoyed by sales of the iPhone 4.
As good as Apple's 2010 was with the iPhone and iPad, the company's 2011 can be better. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said the iPad, which commands 90 percent of the tablet market share en route to selling 14.5 million units for 2010, should continue its reign in 2011.
The seminal device is expected to command a 53 percent market share through 2011, with Google grabbing 32.5 percent.
Apple's efforts will be buoyed by the iPad 2, which should feature a camera to enable video calling, a larger speakers sport a higher-resolution screen.
It is also believed that Apple's orders of iPad 2 are expected to top six million units a month compared to a volume of four million units a quarter for the original version.
As much as the iPad overshadowed the iPhone 4, the iPhone could blow away Android, RIM and everyone else in the market in 2011. Next year, Apple is expected to launch the iPhone on Verizon Wireless' network. This may or may not be the next-generation iPhone 5.
Launching on the No. 1 U.S. wireless network could yield never-before-seen smartphones sales in the United States and abroad.
Jaffray's Munster expects Verizon will activate 9 million iPhones in 2011, comprising 36 percent of Verizon's estimated 25 million smartphone activations. Throw in another 11 million by incumbent iPhone carrier AT&T and that means Apple could sell 20 million iPhones over the course of the year.
Considering that today in the United States there are 60 million total smartphones (comScore) activated, this boost represents a stunning one-third growth in the country's smartphone market in one year.
Combine that with the continued success of Android handsets and the rise of Windows Phone 7 and 2011 should dwarf already impressive 2010 in U.S. smartphone sales.
Finally, less is known about the iPhone 5, though that could well be the first iPhone that appears on next year, as well as on the carrier incumbent AT&T.
Early reports suggest the iPhone 5 will sport NFC technology, an LCD touchscreen made by Toshiba, an integrated SIM card and a built-in radio receiver. NFC, the short-range wireless technology, could pave the way for mobile payments via the iPhone.