Ten Million iPads a Year? Not So Silly

By  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm

All Things Digital’s John Paczkowski is reporting about an analyst report that says the iPad is outselling the Mac and closing on the iPhone, at 200,000 units per week–putting Apple on a pace to sell eight million iPads this year, according to the analyst firm’s forecast. That’s a lot of iPads–and if the firm is right, it means that the rumors from months ago that Apple expected to sell ten million iPads in the gizmo’s first year on the market aren’t so nutty.

(Of course, when folks were doubting that Apple could sell ten million iPads in a year, many of them were expecting the “iSlate” to sell for a thousand bucks or so. Only Apple knew that the most basic model would go for a relatively affordable $500.)

After the jump, a rerun of the numbers on sales of past Apple products I pulled together when the ten-million-iPads rumor first surfaced. Now that we know a lot more about the iPad, I don’t see why it can’t sell about as many units in a year as the iPhone did last year, assuming that the international rollout doesn’t suffer any further major hitches…

Total sales of Apple I, 1976-1977: about 200

Apple II units sold, 1977-1982: 750,000

Apple II units sold, 1982: 300,000

Total Apple III units sold, 1980-1984: 65,000

Original 1984 Macs sold in first 74 days: 50,000

Original 1984 Macs sold in first year: 250,000

Macs sold, October-December 1993: one million

Macs sold, 1995: 4.7 million

iMacs sold in first 139 days: 800,000

iPod during first full year: 378,000

iPod at 5 1/2 years: 100 million

iPod at 8 years: 225 million

Total original iPhones sold: 6.1 million

iPhone at 46 weeks: six million

iPhone/iPod Touch at 20 months: 30 million

iPhone, July-September 2009: 7.4 million

Macs sold by Apple in fiscal year 2009: ten million


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Tom B Says:

    How many cr*ppy netbooks get sold each year? The iPad has more functionality, at a comparable price point.

  2. Tom B Says:

    Answered my own question 36 million netbooks sold in 2009. Could Apple take away about a quarter of sales from that market? They sure could. Will they? Beats me. Probably.

  3. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    I think 8 million this year is too small. They are limiting people to 2 and they are out of stock all over, and it is US only and this is the slow season. There will be the international launch, business orders, back-to-school, the release of iPhone OS v4.1 for iPad, and the holidays before the year is put.

    International represents 2/3 of iPhone sales, so just international alone could turn 200,000 per week to 600,000 per week, or almost 17 million by the end of 2010.

  4. IcyFog Says:

    Apple’s business acumen rarely surprises me anymore.

  5. ediedi Says:

    The problem is that, as usual, outside the US it will be more expensive. Where I live, the predicted sale price for an iPad 16Gb Wifi will be the equivalent of … wait for it… 595 EUR (approx 745 USD). Ouch! (I know, we have a ridiculously high VAT)

    And the same basic story all over Europe: 500 USD becomes 500 EUR (equiv. to 625 USD), to which sale tax/VAT is added. Result: in Europe the magic of the affordable price is lost.

  6. pond Says:

    One limiting factor not mentioned yet: how many Apple can manufacture and get to stores. There have been various rumors on problems delivering the screens, with Apple getting extra help from Samsung there. There have been reports for about a year of tight supplies for flash chips, though Apple has been getting first dibs on massive future contracts.

    Another factor is: how many people really want the thing, and can afford it too? I don’t want a games console for example, so nintendo, microsoft, and sony will never sell me one. Right now Apple is selling to those who do want the slate very much. I expect that market is expanding due to all the very-positive hands-on reviews that have surfaced, plus word of mouth, getting to play with a friend’s iPad and beginning to lust after it.

    Another factor is that there is no viable competition yet. This summer, supposedly, a ton of ARM-based slates will come out, many with Android with skins to emphasize touch. And some of those will come with Tegra2 or other hardware superior to the Cortex A8 single-core that runs the iPad.

    Early days yet for predictions.

  7. Tom Ross Says:

    There is nevertheless a certain supply problem with Apple’s manufacturing partners right now, and it will take Apple several more months to add more capacities—if it’s feasable at all.

    Before the iPad launch Apple surely prepared a range of internal forecasts, including an highly optimistic one. Above and eyond that one, however, there is little likeliness that they would make significant changes to their production model before the next gen is released in 2011. It just wouldn’t pay for them.

    I guess it is more likely that we’re going to see severe shortages all through summer and then again after Thanksgiving until Christmas, rather than Apple being able to ship much more than 10 million iPads this year. My bet is on 2.5 million this quarter, 3 million in the third quarter and 4.5 million in the fourth quarter.

    The prices in Europe are only 5 % higher when you take out the VAT. Seriously, you have to take out VAT. Is Apple supposed to subsidise Europeans with lower net prices because VAT is “too high”? After all, Apple does not get to keep the VAT they charge you.

    Besides, VAT is an integral part of most European tax systems that pays much of the national budgets. In turn, there are other taxes that are higher in the US than in Europe, believe it or not.

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