Some Taiwanese component makers who are supplying Apple say the company has ordered enough parts for 10m units of the iPad over the coming year. If correct, these numbers suggest that there is plenty of room for upside surprises in Apple's results. Over the last month estimates for iPad shipments have been edging up. The initial estimate was for around 4m units, but more recently Goldman has published a 6m number and some other analysts are forecasting 8m units.
The other area where Apple could beat forecasts is with sales into Asia. In the company's last reported numbers, Asian sales were remarkably strong. Sales to both Taiwan and Japan had increased several fold and more recently, sales of the iPhone into South Korea have exploded. Apple has always struggled in Asia, but by the fourth quarter last year the region was contributing 20% of profits - double what it represented a year earlier.
I have just returned from a 9 trip to Singapore and Hong Kong and iPhones can be seen everywhere. Only a year ago you seldom saw any Apple products across Asia. In Hong Kong, I counted four Apple resellers in the Central region, compared to one 18 months ago when I last visited the island. A leading phone retailer in Singapore told me that smartphones now represent 70% of handset sales in the city state, with the iPhone being far and away the market leader.
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