For those keeping score at home, 20 million iPads in one quarter is a lot—an awful lot, to use some vernacular. In the June quarter, for instance, Apple reported sales of 9.25 million iPads, less than half of what Foxconn claims it will ship to Apple during the September quarter.
However, assuming there isn’t a translation error from Foxconn involved and the company is telling the truth when it says it will ship 20 million iPads to Apple, some of those units are likely intended for sale in the December quarter as Apple builds up inventory ahead of the Christmas buying season.
The sale of iPads in the past has largely been constrained to supply, and stockpiling now could mean that Apple would be able to fulfill 100% of demand during the holidays.
It’s also worth noting that Foxconn’s ability to ramp up production of the iPad to such a high number means that the company has been quite successful in expanding its manufacturing facilities for the device. As implied above, 20 million units produced is more than twice the number the company has manufactured in prior quarters.