Analyst Warns of Global iPademic
With iPad 2 hopefuls still queuing outside Apple stores each morning, more than two weeks after the device’s U.S. launch, and international demand causing widespread stock-outs abroad, analysts who follow Apple are scrambling to adjust their iPad sales and earnings-per-share estimates. The latest to do so is Needham’s Charlie Wolf, who today raised his 2011 iPad sales forecast to 30 million units from 20 million.
That’s an additional $1 in EPS for 2011–from $22.25 to $23.25.
“Our expectation going into the Match 11th launch of the iPad 2 in the U.S. was that it would be successful, but probably more subdued than the launch of the original iPad a year ago,” Wolf wrote in a research note titled “AAPL: Shock and Awe.” “The launch blew out our expectations…. In our previous forecast of iPad sales, we had assumed that the fourth calendar quarter of 2010, when Apple shipped 7.3 million units, represented a seasonal high and that sales would recede in the seasonally weaker quarters that followed. Our mistake was to assume only modest secular growth in demand. The launch of the iPad 2, especially abroad, suggests that the underlying secular growth rate of sales is much higher than we previous assumed.”
So much so that it may be a struggle for Apple to satisfy demand for the iPad for quite some time. “Based on December quarter sales, it appears Apple can manufacture around 75,000 iPads per day,” Wolf observed. “Nevertheless, the long lines and stock-outs indicate the iPad 2 will probably be supply constrained for weeks, if not months.”
Which isn’t the best place to be–obviously Apple would much prefer a scenario in which it was able to satsify demand. But it’s a good one nonetheless, particularly since there’s not yet a rival tablet that comes close to matching the iPad.