iPad 2 to Sell Faster Than First iPad: Munster

Apple's iPad 2 should sell better than the first iPad, said Piper Jaffray, which said lines should be shorter owing to retail availability from Target, Best Buy and Walmart.

Apple's iPad 2 will sell 1 million units faster than the 28 days it took the first-generation iPad to sell because the new tablet is available from more stores, according to one industry analyst.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a March 8 research note that initial demand for iPad 2 will be strong but said the increased distribution points will mean shorter lines at Apple retail stores than there were for the inaugural iPad that sold 15 million units last year.

Apple launched the original iPad at 221 U.S. Apple retail stores and most of the 1,100 U.S. Best Buy stores on April 3, 2010.

Apple March 11 will sell the iPad 2 at 236 U.S. retail stores and in more than 10,000 other stores, including AT&T and Verizon stores, as well as retailers Target, Best Buy and Walmart in the United States. Assuming the weather is good and Apple fans come out to shop, the iPad 2 should enjoy a solid opening weekend this Friday.

"It appears iPad 2 supply will be better than the first iPad, given Apple expects to be in 27 countries in the first two weeks with iPad 2 (and we expect the iPad 2 to launch in China in April), vs. just 10 countries in the first two months for the first iPad," Munster added.

The analyst asserted that the iPad 2 will sell well, which would quell concerns that there would be weak initial demand from the short lines at the Verizon iPhone launch.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2 March 2 in San Francisco, one week after Verizon Wireless launched the Motorola Xoom Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" tablet.

The iPad 2, which is thinner, lighter and faster than its predecessor and includes dual cameras for video chat via Apple's FaceTime application, is expected to hamper Xoom sales because it is priced the exact same way the first iPads were priced. The base WiFi version costs $499, and the 16GB WiFi+3G version is priced at $629.

By comparison, the Xoom costs $799, off contract ($599 for a two-year Verizon data deal), or $70 more than Apple's comparable, 32GB WiFi+3G iPad and iPad 2.

While the Xoom is upgradeable to Verizon's speedier 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network, Apple's low-ball iPad 1 pricing appears poised to dull the appeal of the Xoom for cost-conscious consumers, and should force Verizon to slash the device's price.

Even so, Munster acknowledged that the iPad 2 is more evolutionary than revolutionary over the first iPad.