El Segundo, Calif. - Worldwide shipments of Apple
iPads will hit 7.1 million in 2010, with sales more than doubling in 2011 to
14.4 million and hitting 20.1 million in 2012, but shipments could go higher if
Apple soon adds Adobe Flash Web-video support, market research company iSuppli said.
Sales could go even higher if Apple makes other feature
enhancements sooner rather than later, iSuppli added.
In the U.S.,
Wi-Fi-equipped iPads go on sale Saturday, April 3, in Apple stores and select
Best Buy stores, followed by U.S.
availability of 3G + Wi-Fi version in late April. Outside the U.S., the company
has announced that all iPad versions will be available in late April in
Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the
U.K. The iPad will ship in additional countries later in the year.
This year's sales "will be driven by early adopters and others
attracted to the iPad's unique touchscreen-based user interface," iSuppli said,
but in 2011 and 2012, iPad sales will be driven by such factors as new
applications, improved functionality and declining prices. Nonetheless, the
iPad won't reach its full potential without Flash support, iSuppli contended,
because one of the device's key use cases is Web browsing.
"Until Apple addresses this issue one way or another, its
decision not to support Flash -- communicated earlier on by Apple CEO Steve
Jobs -- will have a limiting effect on the iPad's sales potential," said
analyst Francis Sideco. "This is because one of the key use cases of the
device, as marketed by Apple, relates to Web browsing or consumption of online
content. Absent Flash, iPad users will not be able to enjoy Flash-driven
content, which is used in a considerable amount of Web sites as well as Web-based
games and videos."
Given the lack of Flash support, "consumers could end up being
disappointed if what they expect to be a great browsing experience from â€˜a
magical and revolutionary product' ... turns out to be less than extraordinary,"
Apple's decision to leave Flash out might be related to the
company's focus on selling apps for device. "With so much Flash content
available for free, Apple may be excluding support for the software in order to
encourage users to pay for any content they use on the platform," iSuppli