Apple could be on course to sell 12 million new iPads by the end of the quarter, analysts have predicted, with the strong early sales in the opening weekend leading to ambitious estimates for the coming weeks. "Apple has sold ~750,000 new iPads per day since launch on Friday" UBS analyst Maynard Um wrote in an investor note today, AllThingsD reports, going on to suggest that at such a rate 12m sales aren't out of the question. However, Um also warns that there could still be a fly in Apple's ointment.
"If there are no supply shortages, this would imply a run rate of ~12 million new iPads between launch and the end of the quarter" Um concludes. "We continue to believe there could be upside to our 12 million estimate for the quarter."
The supply issue may be the deciding factor. Apple has impressed with the new iPad launch by ensuring that there is sufficient stock to handle in-store demand, despite the third-gen tablet going on sale in ten countries simultaneously; that's something that has proved beyond the firm in previous iOS device releases.
Nonetheless, a 12m target by the end of March will be a considerable challenge to Apple's supply chain, though it seems likely that demand will not be an issue. Sales of the new iPad begin in a further 24 countries at the end of this week, and if the 3m opening weekend is anything to go by, those new markets will be just as interested.
Most likely to slow down the iPad sales juggernaut is the Retina Display, the high-resolution LCD panel which is one of the key selling points of the new model. Several rumors regarding patchy supply and manufacturers unable to meet Apple's exacting standards have flourished over the past weeks, but there's no telling exactly how many panels have made it through to the Foxconn assembly lines.