A consensus roundup of 61 analyst from Wall Street brokerages and independent firms claims that Apple sold more than 18 million iPad devices in its fiscal Q4.
According to the report, the full sales number is close to 18.38 million units sold with a media estimate of 18.13 million.
If that number is correct, it is a 60 percent increase year-over-year and a one million units improvement over fiscal Q3.
Should those numbers hold true, it would mean that Apple in just two short years has went from three million units sold per quarter to nearly 20 million sold. Apple could fair even better in the final quarter of the year with holiday sales likely to push up earnings even higher.
Apple’s biggest competition will likely come from the Microsoft Slate tablet, which arrives on October 26, 2012.
With the iPad Mini expected to be announced next week, there is a good chance that Apple will further its market stranglehold for a little while longer. In the meantime, Apple continues to experience further competition from Google Android (Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD) and Microsoft (Slate) devices.
The biggest slow down for Apple iPad sales over the holiday season could be its shelf life; the New iPad is currently half way through its shelf life, which may push users to wait for a new full sized tablet model to arrive next spring.
It should be noted that Wall Street consensus put iPad sales at 17.6 million units while independent analysts placed the sales level at 19.23 million iPads sold in the Q4 fiscal year period.