Of course, initial sales of the iPad already well exceeded both the iPhone and DVD player months ago. Apple already revealed in July that it sold 3.27 million iPads in its first three months of availability, though the company has not updated sales figures since.
But Colin McGranahan, retail analyst with Bernstein Research, put the numbers in perspective by comparing them to the iPhone, which took 74 days to sell its first million -- a fact highlighted by Apple itself this year, when the iPad reached a million in just 28 days. He also mentioned the launch of the DVD player in 1997, when 350,000 units were sold.
McGranahan has arrived at the conclusion that the iPad is the fastest selling non-phone electronic product ever, and is on pace to pass game consoles and basic cell phones to become the fourth-largest consumer product category in the U.S. next year. He sees iPad sales of more than $9 billion in 2011, leaving it only smaller than the markets for TVs, smartphones and notebook computers.
The analyst sees Apple selling another 4.5 million iPads in the just-concluded fourth quarter of the company's fiscal year 2010. Apple will reveal actual sales in its quarterly earnings report, set for Monday, Oct. 18, at 5 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m. Pacific.