ISuppli predicts Apple will ship 12.9 million iPads in 2010

ISuppli has adjusted its initial April 2 prediction of 7.1 million iPads sold, now forecasting that Apple will ship 12.9 million iPads in 2010. Shipments will rise to 36.5 million in 2011 and 50.4 million in 2012. “The iPad is shaping up to be the Tickle Me Elmo of the 2010 holiday season,” said Rhoda Alexander, iSuppli director of monitor research.

The key to continuing success, the report said, hinges on how quickly Apple responds to issues as they arise and whether the company can align suppliers to meet demand needs. ISuppli believes that Apple can hit the 12.9 million figure within the 19 countries it has already announced for 2010 distribution. The company also predicted that “Apple undoubtedly will refresh the iPad’s features in April 2011,” to fuel continued sales. Changes will likely include an internal camera and “expansion of the product line, potentially including additional screen sizes.”

Asus and Acer are expected to release tablets in Q4 2010, along with Dell, JooJoo and Germany’s WePad, but competition with Apple won’t heat up until 2011, when Hewlett-Packard and others debut their products.