Will Apple Sell 12 Million iPads This Year?

by | Jul 21, 2010

We had some friends over for dinner last week, another chance to fire up the grill. After dinner the fellow looked straight at me, and said “I’m not leaving until you show me your iPad.”

Then this past weekend another friend was over, a real Macintosh fan, and he was glued to the little tablet for a good half hour, swiping happily away.

I don’t know anyone who has bought an iPad who hasn’t become insanely attached to it. It’s converting people who have never used the touchscreen iPhone. Today I read a review by one of the latest converts, Henry Baum writing on Self-Publishing Review,

It’s the best thing I’ve ever bought.

Baum thinks the iPad will be transformative, and with good reason. The rich media it brings to books, along with the convenience of working with digitized text, is going to shift the whole reading paradigm.

The iPad Takes on Gamers, Laptops, Desktops

A story yesterday by Lance Whitney on CNet News quotes a new survey by Resolve Market Research:

Among those who own or plan to pick up an iPad . . . 38 percent say they won’t buy a dedicated portable game console after picking up an iPad. . . 50 percent say they won’t purchase a dedicated e-reader after bringing home Apple’s tablet.

And how about some of that all-important lifestyle research? Yeah, iPad has gone directly to the core of American life:

Where do iPad owners use their tablets? . . . Among current users, 68 percent said they use it on the couch, 40 percent in bed, and 31 percent on the porch.

Can you imagine taking a computer to bed? I mean, of course, before the iPad. And yet it’s the most natural thing in the world once you get used to having one around.

More News

Watching the iPad quietly expand into the culture has been pretty interesting stuff the last few months. Another story, out today, is by Brooke Crothers writing on CNet News.

He quotes Apple Apple COO Tim Cook saying that the iPad market is “very big” and might start to “cannibalize” the market for PCs. This set off a round of higher sales estimates coming from market research firms.

Cook said that, even three months into the iPad’s life,

“We are absolutely selling every unit (iPad) that we can make. Our guts tell us that this market is very big . . . if it turns out that iPad cannibalizes PCs, that’s fantastic for us because there is a lot of PCs to cannibalize.”

Crothers goes on to quote ABI Research and iSuppli, both of whom have revised their sales forecasts for the iPad. The original estimates were for Apple to slowly ramp up sales, acheiving perhaps 3 or 4 million units during 2010.

Now? ABI almost tripled their original estimate to reach about 11 million tablets expected to ship by the end of 2010. And iSuppli thinks Apple will ship 12.9 million iPads this year.

Remember that when the iPad was launched, a lot of people thought the Kindle had a pretty decent head start, since they had about 5 million units sold in the first year on the market. It’s starting to look like iPad will pass that number in a matter of weeks.

All For One (iPad), One For All

It’s not like Amazon stands to lose out. Like Barnes & Noble and others, they’ve brought their own eBook reader apps to the iPad and therefore multiply their own potential base of customers as Apple sells more iPads.

Of course, they are far behind in terms of offering a platform for rich media, for text with audio and video and GPS and touch-screen interfaces and accelerometers, let alone thousands of apps and more coming.

No, the whole iPad experience has taken the ease with which people adopted the app format on their smartphones and blown it right into the heart of computing. The iPad is more useful, in more ways, and in a more delightful style, than we could have imagined. It deserves to thrive.

And as the apps roll out, as all the developers look at those units being sold, the affection with which people treat their iPads, and the prospect of 12,000,000 of the tablets going out the doors this year alone, there’s literally no telling how we’ll be using the iPad a year from now.

Taking a tip from a Twitter connection, I’ve been watching Newsy, a mobile video only news source with incredibly efficient short news clips. I’ve gotten a copy if iDraft so I can draw designs right on the iPad screen. And there are a bunch of apps I’m just waiting to try.

Even though the iPad is really a computing accessory, it provides the best computing experience yet to come along, and done it by flying in the face of conventional wisdom.

The Magic Garden Is a Wonderful Place

In so many ways companies are trying to connect with us in the manner we find most comfortable. The idea is to give your customers choices, options, power over the way the transaction takes place.

But the iPad goes in exactly the opposite direction. In a word processor you might have three or four ways to assign fonts or styles to selected parts of your text. On the iPad, you have one way only. In software we’re used to the keyboard and the mouse overlapping functions in many places. On the iPad you have no choices, there is only the way that Apple has decided you will interact with the device.

Most of the software on the iPad has no menu, no file list, none of the normal features that remind us we’re “computing.”

On my Mac I have six or seven windows floating around: Twitter is pinging in the background, I have book layouts, email, documents in PDFs, blog posts I’m reading, you know what I mean. Your monitor looks the same, doesn’t it?

On the iPad, you do one thing. Then you do another. For a twenty-first century device, it’s incredibly linear.

And yet it all works, that’s the magic. Forced to do one thing at a time, many writers have been able to focus better. When you watch a movie or a TV show, it’s a personal, intimate experience.

Even though it’s the first-generation of a breakthrough product, the iPad has come close to being the convergent, wireless, always-connected digital “sidekick” and helper we’ve imagined for many years.

We just never imagined it was quite this close. And I never imagined that when it arrived, it would succeed prceisely because it took away the very idea of choice on which I thought we had become totally reliant.

My Question: Will 12 million iPads fundamentally change the publishing or media landscape?


Lance Whitney on CNet News: Survey: iPad edging out e-readers, game devices
Brooke Crothers on CNet News: Apple ponders iPad cannibalization of PCs
Henry Baum on Self-Publishing Review: The iPad is Incredible: A Review
Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, original work copyright by Aperturismo, https://www.flickr.com/photos/aperturismo/

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Christy Pinheiro

    I’m waiting on the Ipad, but I know I’ll but one eventually, probably by the end of the year. I spent 3,000 on a MacBook with a solid state drive and it’s spectaculat (writing on it write now) but the reality is that my “working computer” is actually a PC. We have a lot of computers in the house.

    • Joel Friedlander

      You know you’re going to get it Christy. It may replace some of the other computers in the house. You just have no idea how useful the iPad is until you start carrying it around and using it. Last week I was lying on the floor under my wife’s desk in her office fixing some memory chips, and had the iPad propped up under there too. It had the information I needed (step-by-step stuff) and also gave off plenty of light so I could see what I was doing. You won’t see that in an Apple ad, but it was a godsend to me.

  2. betty ming liu

    Hmmm, Joel. I think the answer to your headline question depends on how you answer the following now: Is your iPad yours alone? Or is it the household iPad? When you first started writing about this hot product and I posed that question in a comment, you said one for your family and everyone shares. But I can’t imagine how anyone can get on it if you’re using it all the time! I know I’m not sharing my new iPad with my daughter — esp since it’s much more comfy to take to bed than my MacBook (laptop).

    I’m also wondering if there’s still room for the Kindle and its ilk. I was recently staying with friends who are Kindle fiends. These tablets are primitive but really lightweight. And not backlit, making them quite comfortable for reading. What do you think?

    Also, would like to add that I think you’re very generous in linking on your blog to other sources. I’ve found many great sites from visiting you here. Thanks!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Betty, it’s funny. Both of the other members of my household have laptops (I don’t) and use them heavily. Neither has shown much interest in the iPad . . . yet.

      The Kindle fans don’t want to let go, and there are numerous articles pointing to some superiority the device supposedly has, but I find it very retro and not that useful, although it’s lighter than the iPad. It’s a personal thing, but I like the weight and heft of the iPad, and really dislike the cheapo-plastic feeling of the Kindle.

      And I’ve been doing a lot of writing on the iPad, it’s become my favorite input device. Just really irritating the way Apple has crippled the keyboard and, therefore, the whole word processing interface. After the basic typing is done, I move articles over to my desktop to complete.

      Thanks for your kind thoughts, Betty.

      • bettymingliu

        joel, some of the things you’re loving abt the ipad are because you never used a laptop. the whole portability thing is new to you! this is funny — and helpful — because i know i’m going to experience a version of this. i’m a mac laptop user but i’ve never had an iphone (blackberry all the way). so some of the things i rave amuse my iphone friends. in the end though, you’re right, the ipad is still the next level no matter what. not that cozy with it yet but getting there!

        • Joel Friedlander

          Oh, absolutely. The portability is a huge factor. I haven’t owned a laptop in over 10 years. But the iPad is super-portable, you just grab it on the way and stick it under your arm. And the battery is very good so you can get hours of use out of it. I’m an iPhone user so the interface was immediately familiar. In fact, I still am more attached to the iPhone, it’s a more intimate accessory, if you know what I mean. So when is your iPad arriving?

  3. Allan Moult

    Hi Joel

    I really enjoy your site, but find it frustrating that you do not put links in, as in the article above.

    Sure I know how to cut and paste and and do a Google search, but you could have helped your readers with links to these mentions, for example.

    Self Publishing Review
    Resolve Market Research
    ABI Research

    I also understand your linking to previous articles, but could you be a little more obvious about the self-references?


    • Joel Friedlander


      Thanks for your comment. I started putting the links at the bottom of the articles at the request of other readers, but maybe I should do them in context AND at the bottom (links to Self-Publishing Review and the two articles quoted are in the “Resources” section). When time allows I’ll go back and add the in context links.

      Not sure what you mean by “a little more obvious” about the links to other articles on this site. How would I do that?

      Thanks again.

      • Chris


        I think Allan may be refering to your self-referral method of not bringing the link into direct reference!

        Basically: “I’m not leaving until you show me your iPad.”

        Maybe the addition of: (An iPad that I stole from a drunken Steve Jobs three months back)

        Ie, see previous article written here. Thus the self-reference.

        Well, that’s my take on Allan’s comment. And I’m usually right about everything. Sorry, my wife has just corrected me – that word after ‘usually’ should be spelled W-R-O-N-G.



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