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Up to 20% of iPad owners expected to upgrade

The iPad 2Mike Abramsky, a technology analyst for RBC Capital Markets, predicts up to 20% of the original iPad's buyers will upgrade to the iPad 2 over the next 12 months. But Abramsky suggests the number of customers upgrading to iPad 2 will be eclipsed by buyers new to the platform.

With over 15 million units sold since launching last April, the original iPad is considered to be one of the most successful technology product launches in history. Abramsky, like many analysts, expects the iPad 2 to outperform its predecessor from day one. His predictions indicate Apple will sell at least 500,000 units of the iPad 2 this weekend and 28 million units before the end of 2011. These numbers suggest Apple will welcome at least 25 million new iPad customers in the coming months.

Customers bought approximately 300,000 iPads on its first day of availability in April, 2010, and analysts are expecting almost twice as many to sell over the next few days.

According to Abramsky, most customers new to iPad waited for the second generation of the device. I can certainly include myself among the consumers who were awed by the original but waited patiently for version two. He sees global sales of all tablet devices surging to 50 million units this year, giving Apple about a 56% share of the worldwide market. This number represents a sharp decrease from the estimated 83% market share Apple enjoyed in 2010. It also contradicts a recent Changewave survey that found, of customers planning to buy a tablet, 82% planned to buy Apple's iPad.

Online sales for the iPad 2 began early this morning. Retail sales for the second-generation device will begin at over 10,000 Apple store, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, AT&T, and Verizon locations across the United States at 5 pm (local time) this evening.

Please note, unlike Mr. Abramsky, I am not a professional financial advisor. Consult a financial industry professional for proper, personalized investment advice.

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