Analyst: iPad Set to Evolve like iPhone

Apple's iPhone grew into more than just another smartphone after it was launched, and that's exactly what UBS analyst Maynard Um thinks is about to happen with the iPad, too.

"We believe there has been heated debate as to how well the iPad will sell given its lack of Flash capability for web browsing and questions as to whether its screen is superior to other ebook readers," Mr. Um said. "However, we believe the utility of the iPad will evolve materially just as the original 2G iPhone evolved to become more than just an iPod with phone capabilities."

Since Apple's App Store is already in full swing, and the iPad will be able to run almost all of the apps that are currently available for the iPhone, the iPad will ship with a long list of software titles ready to go. As developers release iPad-specific versions of their apps, the potential usefulness of the iPad will likely rise, too.

Apple introduced the iPad in January, and announced on March 5 that it will ship on April 3. Pre-orders for the iPad will kick off on March 12.

Mr. Um is maintaining his "Buy" rating and US$280 target price for Apple's stock. Apple is currently trading at $217.94, up 7.23 (3.43%).