The Apple iPad has been a smash hit this year but a new report from the hit-or-miss publication Digitimes suggests Steve Jobs’ company is preparing 65 million units for 2011.
This would be a dramatic increase in the iPad sales and the tablet market in general, as research suggests that Apple will be extremely lucky to crack 18 million sold this year. Keep in mind, that’s still a fantastic number for a product which has been considered no man’s land before and the Apple iPad will likely outsell the original iPhone in its first year.
Even if the economy continues to recover and the tablet market continues to grow, I have a hard time believing Apple can reach that sales figure. Digitimes is basing its estimate off of component order and, keep in mind, Apple also likes to over-order some products in order to keep it out of the hands of rivals.
Still, a lot of people have lost a lot of money doubting Apple and reports suggest that it is preparing three different iPad models for next year. This will include a version that has CDMA support for Verizon (and maybe Sprint), as well as versions that have glare-protected screens. The multiple versions could help Apple reach that 65 million figure.
But the market is not going to be as wide open as it was in 2010, as the Samsung Galaxy Tab was the only device worthy of being in the same class as the iPad. That won’t be the case in 2011, as we’re bound to see multiple tablets which offers strong functionality and features.
The Motorola Android Honeycomb tablet will be shown off soon and it could even feature 4G LTE support. The BlackBerry Playbook is an interesting device, as is the much-rumored PalmPad. We also expect some interesting tablets from LG, HTC and many other companies in the next 12 months.