iPad Hits 3 Million in 80 Days. What Will the iPhone 4 Do?

iPhone 4

Yesterday, according to the press office at One, Infinite Loop, Apple sold its 3 millionth iPad, just 80 days after it first went on sale in the U.S. Now, despite the fact that one analyst has claimed that its popularity has peaked, that's a whole lot of $500-and-upwards devices to flog in under three months. Back in February, Apple's own estimate for sales had around 10 million of the things leaving the Mothership before the end of 2010 but, with another nine countries getting access to the iPad next month, it's safe to say that the iPad will exceed expectations. So what should we be expecting for sales of the iPhone 4?

Anyone lucky enough to preorder the latest iteration of the iPhone (despite last week's fiasco, with both Apple and AT&T's Web sites crashing under the demand) should be getting their phone a day early. Katy Huberty, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, reckons that, by the end of 2011, there should be 100 million iPhone subscribers worldwide--an increase of 70 million from the end of 2009. She also factors in that many of these original iPhone owners will upgrade their models to the iPhone 4--and why wouldn't they, given the Retina display and the rest of its neat new features? Indeed, an informal WSJ survey revealed that 62% of existing iPhone owners expected to upgrade to the iPhone 4, with just 19% saying they wouldn't.

Although no week goes by without a set of figures showing that Android and RIM are eating into the iPhone's market share shows that Apple's share is down by 14%, month on month, while RIM and Android are both up. (Of course, this data from Millennial Media refers not to the handset or the OS, rather, mobile ad impressions). BlackBerry was the first into the smartphone arena, and it's still the preferred mobile device up on Capitol Hill, and by quite a margin--and each week goes by more and more Android phones are released into the market. One looks forward to the July figures with interest, as that will mean a month of brand spanking new iPhone in the mix, so expect more balanced figures.

RIM's quarterly results are to be released this week, and BlackBerry users are getting itchy feet over its reticence to offer something new. It is, however, worth remembering that the 9800, RIM's first touchscreen model, is due to launch sometime in September. But that is three months after the new iPhone, and given just how crackers the world went after Gizmodo leaked details of the new version (can you see that happening over a new BlackBerry?) the ongoing march of Apple into our lives seems unstoppable.

Apple is reportedly aiming to manufacture three million units of the iPhone 4 a month but, given just how many retailers aside from Apple and its sole U.S. carrier, AT&T, are stocking it (BestBuy, WalMart, RadioShack) and its impending availability in overseas territories, it could well be an understatement. U.K. carrier O2 has been forced to limit sales to its existing customers--that is to say, upgrades only--until the end of July. If you translate the manufacturing estimates into six months' worth of sales, you're looking at around 18 million by the end of 2010, and factor in the fact that a smartphone is rapidly becoming a necessity, whereas the iPad is definitely a luxury.

The presser revealed a few more interesting nuggets. There are now 11,000 apps available for the iPad, although it's compatible with most of the 225,000 apps available on the App Store. Apple shares have gone up 90% in the past year--looks like the stock is still worth a punt.

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