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First iPad sales estimates: four million this year, double that in 2011

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Even though the device won't be released for another two months, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has been quick to revise his sales estimates for the iPad. His former estimate of 1.9 million units sold in the first 12 months was based on an estimated average price tag of $600; now that we know the iPad is priced much lower than that, Munster has revised his estimate accordingly. With the official pricing revealed, Munster now projects iPad sales of 3-4 million units in the first twelve months and double that amount in 2011, which would generate $4.6 billion in revenue for Apple next year.

Munster doesn't think the iPad will cannibalize Mac sales, however. "The gadget is a premium mobile device, not a computer," Munster believes, and goes on to say that "consumers looking for an affordable portable computer will likely stick with the MacBook lineup." Munster thinks it far more likely that the iPad will cannibalize sales of the iPod touch, and has revised his sales estimate of that device downward by 1.8 million units for 2010.
I can tell you at least one person who won't be part of that 3-4 million sales for the iPad: me. When we at TUAW posted about our dreams for the then-unnamed tablet last August, I said, "In order for me to get really excited about an iTablet, it would have to be more than a gap-filler between the iPhone and the MacBook. It would have to be revolutionary, a device that does something neither existing product is able to do." Based on what I've seen about the iPad so far, though, the device seems to be something targeted toward people who don't already have that particular setup and are missing either an iPhone/iPod touch or a MacBook. That might be exactly what 3-4 million people are looking for this year, and maybe 8 million more next year, but it's not something that suits my own computing needs in any way.

What do you think? Are you planning on getting an iPad and joining Munster's legions? Let us know in the comments.

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