Analysts readjust holiday iPad sales expectations


Apple is likely going to sell a ridiculous amount of iPads during this holiday gift-giving quarter. But some analysts that keep tabs on the company’s sales and shipment data are now telling their clients that their expectations for the skyrocketing sales of the tablet should come down a little bit closer to earth, at least for this quarter.

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu is predicting iPad shipments will be “a little light” for the last quarter of this year, reports AppleInsider. As a result, Wu says he expects Apple (s AAPL) to ship 13.5 million iPads instead of the 15 million he’d originally predicted. Wu blames some of that on tablet shoppers opting for the Amazon (s AMZN) Kindle Fire this holiday. But he also blames another Apple product — he says some people are looking at iPads and choosing a laptop instead: the MacBook Air.

Wu’s report comes a day after Cannacord Genuity’s T. Michael Walkley told his clients that he is also changing his expectations for the iPad from 14 million units sold to 13 million this quarter, which he also attributes to the Kindle Fire. He is estimating Amazon’s tablet could grab as much as 20 percent of Apple’s tablet unit share during the end of this year.

To be clear, Apple’s tablets account for three-quarters of all tablet sales right now. And even though those two analysts are downgrading their expectations to 13 to 13.5 million units, that would still go down as a record for quarterly sales of the iPad for Apple. (Previous record: 11.12 million sold last quarter.) But, as Walkey notes, that current 74-percent unit share could be reduced to just over half of the market by the end of the holiday quarter. So while Apple is still clearly in a dominant position, slightly fewer sales this quarter could be just the beginning of what’s to come as the Kindle starts to build up steam.

The entire tablet landscape is going to look much different a year from now. Corning’s(s glw) recent earnings report showed that the maker of popular Gorilla glass for tablets will have to cut its global glassmaking supply by 25 percent “amid a glut of supply” by the end of this year due to a weaker demand for tablets.

That’s probably less to do with iPads, according to the analysts at UBS, and more to do with other PC makers. Some of them may start ceding the space to the likes of Apple and Amazon over the next year, and Dell(s dell) has already begun: on Tuesday it stopped selling its 7-inch Android tablet(s goog), just months after ending sales of its 5-inch tablet.


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