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Apple (s aapl) turned a few heads when it declared itself a “mobile device company,” but sales of the iPhone and the iPad have shown that really, that’s exactly what it is. In 2011, it’s poised to become more of an “iPad company” than anything else.
That’s because, according to a research note by Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White (via Forbes) based on supplier information, Apple is planning to sell 45 million iPads in 2011. In case you’re more concerned with dollars and cents, that translates to roughly $30 billion in revenue.
Which, if you’re counting, is nearly as much as the company made from all its products in 2008, when it made around $32 billion. It’s not too far off its total for 2009, either, when it took over $35 billion, with a good deal of the difference between the two years being made up by the iPhone.
The Mac has traditionally been Apple’s biggest revenue-generator, with 44 percent in 2008, and 37.7 percent in 2009. The iPhone has been steadily gaining significance in the revenue picture, going from only 5.7 percent of total in 2008 to 18.5 percent in 2009. But that’s nothing compared to what the iPad has and will accomplish.
The iPad is already the fastest selling electronic device ever, and with anticipated sales of 7-10 million iPads since its introduction through the remainder of the year, Apple is on track to make between $4.5 and $6.7 billion in revenue this year alone. That’s close to what the iPhone made in 2009, and the iPad hasn’t been available for the whole year, and has only just seen an expansion of its retail availability to more of Apple’s secondary channels.
Even if Apple doesn’t hit 45 million iPads in 2011, more conservative estimates still put the iPad in a place of prominence regarding revenue share. White’s own prediction of 21.8 million iPads sold in 2011 puts revenue at $14.7 billion, which would’ve exceeded the Mac share in both 2008 and 2009. No matter how you break it down, it looks like the iPad will become Apple’s central tent pole.
If Apple’s business is mostly iPad, then you can bet that Apple’s focus in 2011 will be mostly iPad. And that’s a good thing, both for consumers and developers. iOS will get plenty of attention, meaning more APIs, performance improvements and continued refinements in the App Store review process. Apple will also make translating the iPad’s success across its lineup of product offerings. We’ll see more touch tech, better portability and more aggressive pricing across the board.
The iPad hasn’t only succeeded where many thought it would fail, it’s also become the core of Apple’s business virtually right out of the starting gate. Apple will shift its priorities to capitalize, and those operating in the iPad ecosystem are the ones who stand to gain the most.
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