NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Apple ( AAPL) unveiled its latest iPad offering on Wednesday, and by all accounts this should continue to drive Apple's earnings higher. Initial reaction to the new iPad (as Apple is calling it) was tepid from the likes of Twitter, Facebook and tech journalists, but analysts believe that Apple's third-generation tablet is likely to keep consumers rolling in, and should keep Apple's healthy dominance over the market for some time to come.
Led by new features such as Retina Display, Long Term Evolution (LTE), enhanced iSight cameras, voice dictation, and a much more powerful processor, Apple has firmly kept its lead in the tablet market, said Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley in his research report following the announcement. Walkley noted that Apple has sold over 315 million iOS devices (including 62 millionin its most recent quarter), and now has more than 100 million iCloud users. He also noted Apple's strong retail presence -- 362 stores and counting, which are packed with millions of customers around each day. VZ) and AT&T ( T).
Apple's inclusion of the new features makes the new iPad upgrade a "quality one," said J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz. He said the new features "all stand to cement Apple's market dominance in a preemptive response to any onslaught of Windows 8-based tablets later this year." He rated Apple shares overweight with a $625 price target. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster estimated that Apple will sell 60 million iPads in calendar year 2012, but after the announcement Wednesday he said believes this may be conservative. Apple has sold over 55 million iPads since the product was introduced in 2010. http://twitter.com/commodity_bull.