With an upgraded A6 processor, a retina display, 4G LTE support, and Siri voice recognition, the iPad 3 is shaping up to be a serious update to Apple’s current iPad 2. In fact, its jaw-dropping hardware has analysts predicting ultra high 2012 tablet sales.
Sterne Agee Analyst Shaw Wu said that he expects that Apple will sell 55 million iPads over the course of 2012, mostly in part to 4G connectivity, which is its “key feature.”
According to sources who spoke with Wu, the analyst mentioned that Apple has made “notable progress” on improving the battery life of devices using 4G LTE. Battery life was the reason that the iPhone 4S was not released with LTE support, and Apple execs have mentioned that first generation LTE chip technology just wasn’t up to par at the time.
LTE and a retina display will put the iPad far ahead of its competitors once again, shutting out cheaper alternatives like Amazon’s Kindle Fire and other, inferior Android tablets.
“We view the potential inclusion of 4G LTE as key with speeds approaching that of a quality personal computer experience,” Wu said. “We also view as a positive indicator that the upcoming iPhone refresh in the fall timeframe will likely include this key feature as well.”
After Apple’s Tuesday invites to its media event, Wu modified his projected iPad sales from 51 million to 55 million units. He predicts that Apple will sell 10 million units in arch alone, for $158 billion in revenue in 2012.
Apple’s stock is also at record heights, and its market capitalization has reached 500 billion dollars. To put that in perspective, Apple is now worth more than Poland.