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March 11, 2011

iPad 2 launches today

by Darren Allan

The iPad 2 has gone on sale in the US today, and if the analysts are to be believed, it’s likely to be a storming success. Even more so than the first one.

In its first 24 hours on sale, the original iPad sold 300,000 units. As Bloomberg reports, several analyst firms are predicting sales in excess of 500,000 units for the iPad 2, with some reckoning the sequel will double the original’s opening day tally.

It’s certainly true that there may well be a lot of folks who have held back on their decision to purchase a tablet, due to a few factors. Doubts about whether the tablet market would take off, for starters, although these were swiftly quashed as 2010 progressed.

Many people will have been playing a waiting game to see what the iPad 2 will offer – and what the new competition will offer, too.

Now the cards are on the table, and the iPad 2 has likely done enough to keep ahead of those rivals. It’s faster and slicker, and it was already pretty fast and slick. It also has twin cameras to keep up with the Joneses (or indeed the Xooms and the Galaxy Tabs).

An opening day success is pretty much guaranteed, if only from purchases by all the folks who have held off buying an iPad in the last quarter because they knew another shinier, more magical one was in the pipeline.

The question is, will those sales be sustained over 2011 in the face of the Xoom, and other upcoming launches such as the PlayBook (which definitely fits the slick category, too)?

Mike Abramsky, MD of RBC Capital Markets, has predicted sales of 30 million iPad 2s over the course of the next year, double the original’s tally of 15 million. Previous estimates have been voiced towards the 40 million mark.

Optimistic? Yes, probably. Given that IDC data has indicated that the iPad has dropped its market share from over 90% to just over 70% in the last quarter of 2010, after the launch of the rival Galaxy Tab, Apple can certainly expect further erosion of its share when the Xoom, PlayBook and others start helping themselves to a slice of the pie.

There’ll definitely be some large initial sales numbers for Apple, guaranteed, and we’re betting the iPad 2 will hold up well enough throughout 2011, if not to the tune of some of the analysts’ bigger predictions. The pie will still be an Apple one, predominantly, that’s pretty much assured.

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