Apple could be on track to sell 10M iPads this year

After Apple announced it has sold 2 million iPads in two months, one investment firm predicted that Apple could sell 10 million of the devices in 2010.

Such projections should be taken with a grain of salt. But the fact that analysts are starting to revise their estimates upward shows that they are surprised by the surprising demand for Apple’s tablet device, which has inspired a wave of copycats throughout the tech industry.

Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall raised his estimate for iPad sales from 7 million-plus to more than 10 million in 2010 and 17 million in 2011. As early as March 9, Marshall was predicting that the iPad would sell 4 million units, and before that he had forecast only 2.2 million units. But Apple said it has sold more than 2 million units in 60 days since it began selling the device on April 3. In the past week, it started selling the device in some countries on May 28.

Since the iPads sell for $499 or more, Marshall believes that iPad sales could add up to $1.6 billion, or 10 percent of the estimated $14.6 billion in revenue projected for the fiscal quarter ending June 30. Ken Hyers, an analyst with Technology Business Research also told eWeek that he was surprised to see the iPad reach 2 million sold so soon.

If the iPad hits 10 million in sales, one thing is clear. It’s not a niche market device. It’s a mass market device, and potentially another big hit for Apple. And it may not leave much room for any iPad clone makers who show up late to the party.

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