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20 million iPad sales projected for Apple's June quarter

Apple is poised to report record breaking sales of 20 million iPads in the just-concluded June quarter, one analyst believes.

Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company issued a note to investors on Thursday in which he increased his June iPad shipment forecast from 13.5 million units to 20 million units. He admitted that his initial estimate made in April was "hastily formulated," which is why his latest prediction is so much larger.

"In our view, it's only a matter of time before iPad shipments exceed iPhone shipments," Wolf said. "The iPad is invading the business market at a much faster pace than the iPhone. In addition, the iPad will launch in China on July 20th. This should provide a significant boost in sales now that Apple is providing Chinese languages and services on its iOS platform."

If Wolf's prediction proves accurate and Apple does report sales of 20 million iPads in the June quarter, that number would be more than double the 9.25 million iPads Apple sold in the same quarter a year ago. It would also be a new record for iPad sales in any quarter, handily besting the 15 million iPads Apple sold in the holiday shopping season of 2011.

Wolf believes iPad sales have been particularly strong to both businesses and education institutions. He also believes the $399 16-gigabyte iPad 2 has been a major seller for Apple.

As for the iPhone, Wolf also increased his June quarter estimate to 28 million units, up from his previous prediction of 27 million shipped. It's expected that iPhone sales fell from the 35 million units Apple shipped in the March quarter.

"The assumption underlying our forecast of a sequential quarterly decline is that some customers have begun to postpone their purchases of an iPhone 4S in advance of a much widely publicized introduction of the new iPhone this fall," Wolf wrote.

Apple will report earnings for its third fiscal quarter of 2012 during a conference call on Tuesday, July 24, at 2 p.m. Pacific, 5 p.m. Eastern. AppleInsider will have full, live coverage of the call.