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Apple forecast to sell 28M iPads in 2011, chipping away at PC sales

Apple's competitively priced iPad is expected to reduce sales of low-end notebook PCs in 2011, when consumers are projected to buy at least 28 million of the touchscreen tablet, one analyst believes.

Maynard Um with UBS Investment Research issued a note to investors this week, in which he increased his price target for AAPL stock to $350, up from $340. He said there is no evidence that the iPad is having a negative effect on Mac sales, but it is "adversely affecting the PC industry."

"Sales of traditional notebooks appear to be feeling pressure from the iPad, causing a scramble by vendors to launch iPad-like tablets," Um wrote. "We believe that a majority of this impact is occurring on the lower end of PC sales as the iPad is priced close enough to this range that it becomes attractive to consumers looking to make purchases within this segment."

He continued: "We are not sold that the iPad is purely cannibalizing PC sales, as the functionality of the iPad cannot yet deliver the functionality of notebook PCs. However, consumers who purchase iPads may be more willing to delay purchases and upgrades of existing PCs."

Um sees Apple selling 28 million iPads in 2011, a number he cautioned could be "conservative."

Um's note was issued as another report indicated that the popularity of the iPad is helping to drive down the prices of digital random access memory in PCs. Devices like the iPad are less reliant on DRAM than a traditional notebook or desktop PC, and Samsung warned this week that there is currently an oversupply of memory in the market due to weakening PC sales.

Um also reiterated rumors that Apple will launch a new CDMA-compatible iPhone 4 in January of 2011. He has raised his sales forecast for the calendar year to include a CDMA option on potential carriers like Verizon in the U.S., bringing his estimate for 2011 to 52 million units.

"We continue to favor product plays such as Apple as the company should have some of the most highly sought after products in the holiday quarter," Um wrote. "Despite tough economic conditions, consumers remain willing to pay for innovation Despite increasing competition in smartphones and that which is soon to come in tablets, Apple's ability to keep its products fresh and innovative gives us confidence in our estimates going forward."