Jan. 18, 2012 at 4:45 PM ET
Hopes are so high for the continued dominance of the iPad that one analyst predicts that at least 48 million iPads will be sold this year, boosted in part by the imminent arrival of the next iteration of the reigning tablet, the iPad 3.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu told AllThingsD, "We believe this significant refresh will likely help drive higher iPad sales and help further differentiate from arguably the only real competitor in the market, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and not to mention the myriad of Android offerings out there. We are currently modeling 48 million iPad shipments for calendar 2012."
And he's saying that's a "conservative" number.
According to his credentials on the Sterne Agee website, Wu "has nearly 15 years of experience in the technology industry as an equity research analyst, software developer, and network administrator at firms which include Broadpoint AmTech, Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley, and General Electric." More importantly, his insights seem to yield accurate results. StarMine has ranked him No. 2 for stock picking and No. 3 for earnings accuracy.
With reports that the iPad 3 will include 4G LTE networking, a high-def screen and a quad-core processor, it's a good bet that it will be a magnet for electronics-obsessed consumers come February or March.
The iPad has been the latest of Apple's record-breaking products. When it released its fourth quarter results last October, Apple said that 11.2 million iPads were sold that quarter — a 166 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago. Business Insider reports that Apple sold an estimated 38 million iPads last year, making 48 million not such a grandiose goal to achieve.
It will face some heat from the Kindle Fire, which had a big month to end 2011, among the 4 million Kindles sold in December.