Don't be surprised if Apple sells 1M of iPad 2 this weekend, analyst says

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With expanded availability, two colors and a buzzworthy magnetic case, the iPad 2 could more than triple last year's sales debut and reach a million units over the weekend, one analyst believes.

Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities said in a note to investors on Friday that he "would not be surprised" if sales of the iPad 2 reach 1 million over the weekend. That would easily best last year's sales of 1 million in just 28 days.

White said the sales pace will also likely continue into the coming weeks, as Apple plans to launch the iPad 2 in 26 more countries on March 25. Friday's 5 p.m. sales start applies to the U.S. only.

He noted signs of strong demand already, with online orders not shipping for 2 or 3 weeks, and lines forming at stores around the country. The first customers will get their hands on the iPad at 5 p.m. local time via all 236 Apple retail stores, and about 10,000 other locations, including Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

The iPad 2 will have a stronger launch than the iPad thanks in part to increased availability, but also because of the option of a white model, and the new magnetic "Smart Cases" that White believes will "create a bit of a buzz with customers."

White has projected the iPad to conservatively generate $16.92 billion in revenue with sales of 27.36 million units in fiscal 2011. That would mean iPad sales would contribute nearly a third of Apple's $36.8 billion forecast incremental revenue.

White also sees the iPad 2 launch driving a "halo effect" around other Apple products. Free publicity in the news from sales of the iPad 2 will drive demand for other products, like iPhones and Macs, he said.

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