Apple to Ship 30m iPads, 17m Macs in 2011 Claims Analyst

Those analysts do just love to analyze, and once again we’re faced with one such guesser expert and his estimates for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and Mac sales as well as the big one – how much money will the boys in Cupertino rake in this year?

The analyst we’re looking to this time is Needham and Company’s Charlie Wolf, who believes both iPad and Mac sales will be higher than first anticipated, while iPhone sales will actually be lower than originally forecast…

According to Wolf, Apple will ship a massive 30 million iPads in 2011, with the analyst projecting 9 million iPads being shipped in the third quarter of fiscal 2011 – his original estimate was 7.5 million.

“While competitors have rushed to launch competing tablets, they have made an imperceptible dent in the trajectory of iPad sales,” Wolf wrote in a note to investors. “They have been unable to undercut the price of the iPad; and they’re fallen woefully short in matching its features, ease-of-use and the number of applications written for the device.

“Indeed, the only risk in our forecast is on the supply side, not the demand side.”

Mac sales see a similar increase in projected shipment numbers, with Wolf increasing his initial figure of 3.75 million for the third quarter to 4.25 million. Add on 4.9 million in the fourth quarter and you’re left with 17 million Mac shipped in Apple’s fiscal 2011, according to Apple Insider.

Interestingly, the iPhone is expected to see less units shipped than originally anticipated, according to Wolf. He puts this down to Apple’s expected slow-down in production in readiness for a new handset becoming available.

“The updated numbers also include slightly lower estimated iPhone sales. Wolf said he reduced fourth-quarter shipments from 17.5 million to 16 million because Apple is likely to reduce channel inventory of the iPhone 4 before the fifth-generation iPhone goes on sale.”

What this all boils down to is a bumper year for Apple – fiscal 2011 is expected to see Apple rake in $103.6 billion, an increase from the previous prediction of $101.1 billion.

Obviously, as with all things analyst, this is to be taken with as large a pinch of salt as you have to hand. While it takes no genius to figure out Apple is selling iPad 2s as fast as it can make them, we can’t help but think there is still a certain degree of witchcraft involved in the whole analyst business.

Of course, we’re just mere mortals, how could we ever hope to understand?