Apple has already sold more than 40 million iPads since the tablet was introduced in 2010, but may be on pace to more than double that amount by the end of 2012. According to analyst Shaw Wu for Sterne Agee, a brokerage firm, Apple is expected to sell at least 48 million iPads in 2012.

In a note to investors, Wu referred to this number as a “conservative estimate,” which means that sales of the tablet could easily surpass the 50 million mark and perhaps go even higher before the year is over. And there’s many reasons why…

For starters, it has been widely speculated that Apple is preparing to launch the iPad 3, with a release date falling sometime between February and March. Wu believes that this release will substantiate Apple’s tablet from its competitors, namely Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

”We believe this significant refresh will likely help drive higher iPad sales and help further differentiate from arguably the only real competitor in the market, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and not to mention the myriad of Android offerings out there,” Wu wrote. “We are currently modeling 48 million iPad shipments for calendar 2012.”

Furthermore, it has been rumored that Apple may retain the iPad 2 as part of a dual-pronged approach to cater to both the high-end and entry-level tablet markets. If the iPad 2 were to receive a price drop after its successor is released, its sales would likely remain significantly higher than its competition.

[BGR]

  • mattsuperman148

    When the iPad 3 comes out, I’m going to be all over it!

  • I have $750 saved up for the iPad 3! I can’t flippin wait!