If Foxconn meets that estimate, it would represent 60 percent sequential growth in shipments, according to DigiTimes. iPad 2 orders are expected to be a major source of growth for the China-based operation, though Foxconn declined to comment on any specific clients.
To put the numbers in perspective, during its last fiscal quarter, Apple announced it had shipped a record 9.25 million iPad 2 units, which was a 183 percent increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple's figures represent the total number of units actually shipped, rather than the number of iPads built and supplied by Foxconn.
When the iPad 2 first launched this year, Apple could not meet demand as the company struggled to manufacture more units. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook referred to Apple's effort to build more units as "the mother of all backlogs."
But as Apple and its overseas manufacturing partner Foxconn have apparently addressed those issues, shipments in the third quarter of calendar 2011 appear poised to skyrocket. As further evidence that Apple has overcome its supply woes, the company this week began selling refurbished iPad 2 units on its online store, at a discount of $50.
If Foxconn does ship Apple 20 million iPad 2 units this quarter, which concludes at the end of September, it would reach that milestone before the 2011 holiday buying season, when sales typically spike. For example, in the September quarter of last year, Apple sold 4.19 million first-generation iPad units, while sales rose to 7.33 million units in the holiday quarter concluding in December.
Apple's surging iPad sales continue as its competitors have failed to replicate the company's success in the touchscreen tablet market. Most recently, Hewlett-Packard opted to discontinue its TouchPad after just six weeks on the market due to poor sales.