Analyst: iPad Off to Strong Start, Won’t Eat into Mac Sales

First day iPad sales were off to a strong start, but based on buyers UBS spoke with, Apple’s new multimedia tablet won’t eat into Mac sales, according to analyst Maynard Um.

UBS interviewed about 260 iPad buyers outside Apple’s New York and Boston stores and found that most said they didn’t plan to use their iPad as a replacement for their computer.

“Customers surveyed overwhelmingly indicated that the iPad would not replace their computers (66 percent of respondents),” Mr. Um said. “Based on our survey, we believe the iPad will not cannibalize Macs and view the device as a largely incremental growth opportunity for Apple.”

About 43 percent of those asked said their iPad would serve primarily as a Web browsing, personal entertainment and media viewing device, and only nine percent said the tablet would serve primarily as an ebook reader.

“Although most cited Web browsing, we expect iPad functionality to change significantly over time similar to the way iPhone evolved from the launch,” Mr. Um added.

Apple began selling the iPad on April 3rd. The tablet device includes a 9.7-inch multi-touch display, support for most iPhone apps, multimedia playback support, an ebook reader, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and models scheduled to ship at the end of April will include 3G wireless data access, too.

Mr. Um is maintaining his “Buy” rating and US$280 target price for Apple’s stock. Apple is currently trading at $235.72, down 0.25 (0.11%).