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08:43 AM

iPad Poised To Smash Sales Record

Apple's tablet-style computer will reach the 10-figure sales mark as soon as June, an analyst projects.

Apple's iPad may soon become the fastest consumer product to hit the $1 billion sales mark, according to a market watcher.

iPad teardown shot via FCC.
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe said if the iPad maintains its current sales rate through May, it will hit that mark by the end of the month.

"Apple's iPad will likely take the crown for the fastest consumer product growth to the $1 billion revenue mark in history, taking less than 80 days from the beginning of pre-orders to reach that milestone," said Howe, in a blog post Wednesday.

Howe based his projection on Apple's disclosure earlier this week that it sold a million iPads since the device went on the market April 3rd, and the assumption that the torrid sales pace would continue for the duration of May.

Howe said he's confident the iPad will hit the $1 billion mark by June because "even Apple Stores keep running out of stock." Indeed, U.S. demand has been such that consumers looking to purchase one of the devices now face wait times of up to a week or more in some areas.

"Demand continues to exceed supply and we're working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in a statement Monday.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has estimated that Apple sold about 300,000 iPad 3Gs over last weekend. The iPad 3G, which features cellular connectivity through AT&T as well as built-in WiFi support, hit stores on April 30.

Apple is positioning the iPad—essentially an oversized iPod touch--as an all-purpose handheld that's optimized for e-reading, viewing videos and images, and gaming.

Pricing for the Wi-Fi only version, which features 802.11 connectivity, starts at $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model, and $699 for the 64GB version. The Wi-Fi + 3G versions are priced higher. The 16GB model is $629, the 32GB model is $729, and the 64GB version is priced at $829.

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