Analyst: Apple Could Sell 45 Million iPads in 2011

Apple could sell as many as 45 million iPads during 2011, according to Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities. In a research note to clients covered by eWeek, Mr. White said that he checks with Apple suppliers and the company’s newly announced aggressive retail presence will drive sales this holiday season, and into 2011.

“We continue to believe the Apple iPad will be one of the most coveted gifts this holiday season,” Mr. White wrote. “Our trip to Taiwan and China this week provides further evidence of strong demand for the iPad during H2:2010.”

In the past week, Apple has announced retial agreements with Target, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Verizon, and AT&T, all of whom will be adding the iPad to their fleets of retail stores.

“The combination of these [AT&T and Verizon] agreements, along with the iPad launch at Target on October 3 and Wal-Mart’s plans to begin selling iPads on October 15 will continue to drive better than expected demand for iPad,” wrote Mr. White.

Ch-ChingTo offer some context for the analyst’s 2011 numbers, the company sold some 3.3 million iPads in its first quarter of availability. Estimates for the September quarter are that Apple sold between 3 million and five million iPads — Apple will announce results for the September quarter on Monday, October 18th.

If Apple sells 45 million iPads in 2011, that would mean an average of 11.25 million iPads per quarter, or more than $6 billion. For analyst Brian White, it would also be more than twice his own previous estimates.

“We believe these announcements are significant in Apple’s push to expand the adoption of iPad before competitors begin offering tablet-like devices in early 2011,” he wrote. “Additionally, this aggressive sales channel expansion by Apple supports our field check last week with a Taiwan supplier that is expecting up to 45 million iPad unit sales in CY2011, which is more than double our 21.8 million forecast.”

Shares in Apple continued their run-up in advance of the company’s Monday earnings announcement. In morning trading, AAPL was trading at $305.864, a gain of $3.554 (+1.18%).

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.