Apple's iPad: Will it sell?
The new device will fly off shelves, say some analysts; others think sales will build slowly
Computerworld - Apple's iPad will fly out of stores when it goes on sale in four weeks, and will build momentum through the back-to-school and into the holiday selling seasons, analysts said today.
"I expect a surge going out the door," said Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research. "There's a group of Apple advocates that will queue up no matter what. Apple has the most effective branding in the industry, and these people think of themselves as acolytes, they do think of themselves as the 'Mac' in Apple's 'I'm a Mac' ads."
That news had been preceded by reports citing Peter Misek, an analyst with Canaccord Adams, who said iPad production problems would limit the number of units available at launch to just 300,000, considerably less than the 1 million many had anticipated.
Wall Street analyst Brian Marshall of BroadPoint AmTech leaned toward inventory shortages as well, and said that such news might pressure consumers to line up for Apple's new device. "They're definitely going to sell out in a matter of hours," he said of the iPad's debut.
Gottheil echoed Marshall. "I do expect there will be some constraints on supply," he said. "Apple had inventory problems before with both the iPhone 3G and the 3GS. It's not the same -- everyone needs a phone -- but there's not an unlimited supply of touch screens."
Once the initial rush is over -- which will likely continue through the launch of the 3G-equipped iPad a month or so after the WiFi-only model on April 3 -- sales will drop off until the back-to-school run in mid-to-late summer, said Gottheil. "I see a lot of upside for the iPad during the year, with strong sales in the back-to-school quarter. And it will be a very attractive holiday product."
Survey data seems to back up Gottheil's sales projection. According to ChangeWave Research, which polled more than 3,100 U.S. consumers in the first half of February -- days after Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad -- sales of the iPad will gain momentum for at least six months after launch.
Of the people polled who said that they are likely to buy an iPad, only 6% said they would put down their money in the first week after its release. That number climbed to 20% for two to three months after launch, and 23% for the four-to-six month period.
Paul Carton, ChangeWave's research director, cited the low number who said they would immediately buy an iPad to challenge the thinking of analysts like Gottheil and Marshall. "I don't think you'll see in the first weeks people pounding down the doors," he said. "It will take off slower, and build."
Starting on Friday, Apple's U.S. online store will accept pre-orders for both the WiFi-only and the WiFi+3G models. Apple's retail stores, however, will reserve only the WiFi iPad for pick-up on Saturday, April 3. The iPad will be available in late April in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K., Apple said last week.
Prices for those markets won't be announced until next month.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Apple plays hardball with iPad Mini reveal
- Apple breezes to PC sales' top spot as Windows share decays
- Analyst tallies perks of September launch of new iPhone, iPad
- Analyst predicts stellar iPad sales in next week's Apple earnings
- Nexus 7 holds up better than iPad in drop, water-dunk tests
- With iPad Mini, Apple would remain tablet king through '16, says IDC
- Apple demands ipad3.com domain
- Chrome for iOS snatches top spot on App Store
- iPad in the Enterprise: IT Must Stay Ahead of the Curve
- Skepticism mounts over Windows RT's enterprise role
Read more about Macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Macintosh White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!