7 Million iPads To Ship In 2010, Triple That By 2012: iSuppli

The iPad has all the components that led to the success of other Apple devices, including a user-friendly multitouch screen, attractive design and compelling applications, and they should help boost sales as soon as the iPad starts shipping, iSuppli wrote in a report issued on Friday.

The research firm estimated that shipments of the Apple iPad will top 7.1 million units in 2010 and then grow to 14.4 million units in 2011 and 20.1 million units in 2012.

While initial iPad sales will be driven by early adopters, sales growth after this year will be driven by new applications, improved functionality and falling prices, according to iSuppli.

Should Apple start supporting Adobe Flash technology, sales could be much higher than its initial estimates.

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Apple does not support Adobe Flash technology, which is used by many popular Web sites as a way to drive content, games and videos. Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, has called Adobe Flash a memory hog and said it would cut the iPad battery life from 15 hours to 1.5 hours.

Apple's strategy is centered on paid content from content providers and by not supporting the wide range of free Flash-based content, Apple expects to drive sales through its AppStore, iSuppli wrote.

Apple's decision to not support Adobe Flash will limit the iPad's sales potential, wrote Francis Sideco, principal analyst for wireless communications at iSuppli.

"This is because one of the key use cases of the device, as marketed by Apple, relates to Web browsing or consumption of online content," Sideco wrote. "Absent Flash, iPad users will not be able to enjoy Flash-driven content, which is used in a considerable amount of Web sites as well as Web-based games and videos."

Initial shipments of the iPad to customers who preordered the device are expected to begin Saturday.