Apple Extends iPad Retail Reach, Competition Falls Short


Six months after a supply-constrained launch that saw three million iPads sold in 80 days, iPad supply appears to have caught up to demand. That doesn’t mean sales are falling, though. In fact, financial analysts are continuously revising sales projections upwards.

Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore (via Apple 2.0) has the latest research note suggesting a bright future for the iPad, and a dim one for competitors. Whitmore believes the App Store is 12 to 18 months ahead of the competition, and the iTunes Store two years. But the real problem for the competition is in component pricing. According to Whitemore, Apple has contracted for as much as 25 percent of the world’s supply of Flash NAND, as well as much of the display manufacturing capacity, so those same parts will harder to come by for other firms.

We are probably already seeing this play out in competitor pricing, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which could actually cost more than the iPad. When was the last time an Apple product was less expensive than a competing one? Adding to price disparity are comments from Hugo Barra, Product Management Director of Mobile at Google (s goog), who said Android 2.2 is “just not designed for” tablets.

The iPad will also now be appearing alongside its predecessor the iPod touch at many more locations starting today. Adding to its retail presence in the U.S. at Apple (s aapl) Stores and Best Buy (s bby), the iPad is now available at Target (s tgt), as well as online at Amazon (s amzn).

At Target, all six models of the the iPad are now available, though only for in-store purchase, while Amazon is currently selling only the 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi models.

This means the iPad is now available at approximately 3,000 retail outlets in the U.S., and more than two dozen countries worldwide, the latest being China on Sept. 17.

It seems clear that Apple is doing everything possible to maintain and extend their advantage on tablets. Having already won 2010, the next step for Apple would be to launch the iPad 2 at an Apple event early next year.

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