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Apple iPad Sales Will Surpass Mac

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL) could sell a massive 21 million iPads in 2011, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who predicts that the tablet will surpass sales of the Mac.

Munster raised his 2011 estimate for iPad sales from 14.5 million to a massive 21 million, according to the AppleInsider Web site. Key factors driving iPad sales include expanded distribution channels, international rollout, enterprise adoption and take-up in "price-sensitive markets", particularly overseas.

All the signs are certainly pointing to a big 2011 for the iPad. Morgan Stanley, for example, recently reported that Apple is ramping up iPad production.

Analyst firm Gleacher & Company also said that Apple is also becoming more efficient at getting iPads into the hands of consumers, adding that the tablet is not eating into other Apple product revenue.

Launched earlier this year in a blaze of publicity, the iPad has breathed new life into the ailing tablet market and has already prompted a flurry of activity from rivals such as Google (GOOG), Motorola (MOT), Hewlett Packard (HPQ) and Cisco (CSCO).

Analyst firm iSuppli, however, recently predicted that it could be 2012 before the iPad faces a truly viable tablet competitor.

Apple's iPad will account for an overwhelming 74.1% of global tablet shipments in 2010, according to iSuppli, which predicts that this figure will only slip to 70.4% in 2011. Even in 2012, the iPad is expected to account for 61.7% of tablet shipments.

Apple is certainly experiencing great success with the iPad, which was launched in late April. The consumer tech giant said that it had sold more than 3 million of the devices within the first 80 days, although this figure is now clearly much higher.

Steve Jobs did not provide an iPad update during the company's iPod launch event earlier this month.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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