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Piper lowers 2010 sales forecast to 4.3M, remains 'confident' in iPad

After Apple revealed it sold 300,000 iPads on launch day, analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray revised his calendar year 2010 sales estimates to 4.3 million, though he remains confident in the iPad platform.

After seeing enthusiastic crowds lined up for the iPad on Saturday, Piper Jaffray increased its sales forecast to between 600,000 and 700,000. But Munster's original prediction of 200,000 to 300,000 turned out to be the more accurate guess.

The analyst issued a second note to investors Monday morning, noting that they were wrong on launch day sales. Piper Jaffray analysts believed that online sales would account for 75 percent of all iPad sales, but in reality, online preorders made up about 50 percent of sales, he said, resulting in a significant decrease.

Even though he reduced his expected iPad sales in 2010 from 5.6 million to 4.3 million, the number remains well above his initial prediction of 2.7 million that had been made prior to launch weekend.

"The bottom line is that we missed the launch day sales, but we remain confident in the iPad as an investable theme," Munster wrote.

Apple issued a press release on Monday touting that the iPad sold 300,000 in its first day of sales. The company also revealed that more than a million applications were downloaded from the App Store, and the new iBookstore saw over 250,000 books downloaded on its first day.

Munster noted that he and his team were also overly optimistic for the initial iPhone launch, when they believed Apple would sell 500,000 units. In reality, the handset moved 270,000 at launch. But even though those launch numbers concerned investors, Munster noted that the iPhone is expected to sell 36 million units and represent 39 percent of the company's revenue in 2010.

Earlier Monday, Piper Jaffray revealed the results of a survey it conducted with 448 iPad buyers. The study found that 74 percent of iPad buyers were Mac users, and 66 percent owned an iPhone. Just 13 percent owned an Amazon Kindle, and more than half of those said they would replace their Kindle with an iPad.