Apple could ship 8-10 million iPads in 2010, or 2.5 million tablet devices within the first three months of this year, one analyst told investors Monday. If correct, the amount would far exceed the prevailing Wall Street expectation for 5 million iPads for all of calendar year 2010.
Morgan Stanley analyst Kat Huberty said her optimism is fueled by “strong initial pre-orders.” Indeed, because each 1 million iPads shipped translates to $0.25 of earning per share, the Cupertino, Calif. company is on track for a “significant earnings upside.”
The iPad could also help Apple grab a large chunk of the low-priced, low-powered netbook market, the analyst argues.
“Near-term, we believe [the] iPad will target the sizeable sub-$800 consumer notebook market, which equates to 30 million units in the U.S. and 120 million units globally,” she announced. Longer-term, content from books, magazines and video publishers should only keep demand strong for later in the year.
Huberty believes Wall Street doesn’t recognize the still-strong demand for the iPhone and how the iPad will contribute to Apple’s desire to increase its marketshare. The company could have 10 percent of global handset sales and 25 percent of the smartphone market in the next three to four years.
The analysis comes as Apple attempts to cope with overwhelming early demand for the iPad. Although the company Monday began shipping the first iPads pre-ordered, the electronics maker Saturday began telling consumers ordering the tablet device that the product would ship April 12. Apple has said it will begin iPad sales April 3.