John Paczkowski

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Munster: Apple Is Selling Every iPad It Can Build

With Apple no longer promising delivery of new Wi-Fi-only iPad orders on April 3 and its retail stores calling customers to confirm iPad pickup reservations, some analysts are beginning to think that demand for the device may be a bit stronger than their early predictions suggested.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said this morning that his initial estimates of 900,000 iPads sold in the June quarter and 2.7 million in calendar year 2010 “may prove to be conservative.”

Munster figures Apple (AAPL) is poised to sell between 200,000 and 300,000 iPads this weekend–in line with the 270,000 first-gen iPhones it sold at launch. And he thinks the chances are good that the company will sell out of the device.

“When Apple began taking pre-orders customers could pre-order for home delivery on April 3 or in-store pickup on April 3,” Munster writes. “A week before the launch (on March 27) the company pushed back the shipping date to April 12 and ended the in-store reservation program for the launch. And in preparation for the launch, on March 31 Apple retail stores began calling those with iPad pickup reservations to confirm the reservation.”

What does it all mean? Says Munster: “We believe these signs indicate that initial demand for iPads was stronger than the company expected, and/or minor supply issues have slightly constrained availability for the launch. We believe the supply constraints are minor because the new ship date is not a significant delay. Ultimately, both strong demand and somewhat constrained supply appear to be resulting in the fact that Apple is selling every iPad it can build.”

Munster’s bullish estimate follows two others issued earlier this week–one from Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, who expects iPad sales to hit five million units in the first year, and another from Morgan Stanley (MS) analyst Katy Huberty, who expects the company to sell over six million units.

[Image credit: Panelfly]

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