Apple’s iPad hasn’t yet arrived at market, but the device’s suppliers are already raising their build rates in expectation of strong sales, thanks to encouraging pre-order rates. This according to Morgan Stanley (MS) analyst Katy Huberty, who says Apple’s manufacturing partners now expect to ship 2.5 million iPads between March and May, considerably ahead of her previous estimate of 750,000 for the June quarter.
What’s more, they are now forecasting shipments of eight to 10 million iPads in calendar 2010, considerably more than prior expectations of five million-plus. Current Street consensus is for Apple (AAPL) to sell three to four million iPads, but Huberty figures the company will sell over six million iPads. “We continue to believe the market under-appreciates longer-term iPhone/iPad demand,” Huberty writes. “Negative investor sentiment on the iPad centers on the lack of a ‘killer app’ or new technology.”
Adding detail, the analysts says that “Near-term, we believe iPad will target the sizeable sub-$800 consumer notebook market, which equates to 30 million units in the US and 120 million units globally. Medium-term, newly introduced content (books, magazines, video) and iPad-optimized apps could broaden the addressable market and strengthen iPad sales momentum later this year.”