Apple CEO Steve Jobs' supreme confidence in the iPad as a"magical device" seems to be coming true for Apple, with the company announcing Monday that it has sold its first million of the devices -- and in less than half the time it took for consumers to snap up that many iPhones three years ago.
Apple also said consumers have downloaded 12 million iPad apps from the App Store and about 1.5 million books from the company's new iBookstore.
Apple stated that it's struggling to keep up with consumer demand, suggesting sales Best Fit CRM Analysis - Learn which 3 CRM solutions would best fit your business. Click here. may be exceeding the company's own expectations, but Apple did not respond to direct inquiries regarding internal sales projections.
However, whether the numbers are meeting sales projections is hardly the point, said Michael Gartenberg, vice president at the Altimeter Group. Rather, he said, the point is that Apple has finally validated a market that has long eluded PC manufacturers -- the tablet computer.
"If you took every vendor in the last 10 years that has tried to get into the space, added up all their numbers, you wouldn't get anywhere close to the million Apple has sold," Gartenberg told MacNewsWorld. "It's clearly resonating with the market that counts -- not the technology enthusiast but the mass market."
What's more, it's resonating in a way that doesn't appear to be eating into the sales of other Apple products, UBS Securities analyst Maynard Um wrote in a research note on Monday. Most users, according to Um, have no plans to replace their existing computers with an iPad, and moreover, app and book sales could help boost adoption of iPhone sales as consumers get a taste of the lifestyle the devices have to offer.
Apple will likely sell 4 million to 6 million units total by the end of the year in what will be an increasingly competitive tablet market going into the second half of the year, according to Atlimeter Group's Gartenberg.
Competition Heating Up
The recently announced acquisition of Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) by HP (NYSE: HPQ) presages the possibility of a tablet device based on Palm's well-regarded webOS. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has been dangling the possibility of a Chrome-based tablet before consumers for months, and its recent purchase of BumpTop may give it the ability to build new features into its operating system. In addition, a variety of manufacturers have been discussing plans for Windows- and Android-based tablets in the coming months.
"Now that the market is validated, nobody's going to cede it to Apple," Gartenberg said.
However, wrestling it away from Apple will be a huge undertaking. Not only does the company have the first runaway hardware success, but it also has a continuing success with the growing number of applications written specifically to target the iPad. That number will only grow over the summer as Apple releases the next version of its iPhone OS with new features for developers to take advantage of.
"This sets the foundation for what the next 10 to 15 years of computing will look like," Gartenberg said."There's no way you can call the iPad anything but an unqualified success."
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