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Apple orders 65 million iPad screens

Apple may be a lot more confident in the iPad than we thought. According to DigiTimes, the house of Jobs has ordered 65 million 9.7-inch iPad screens for 2011.  If true, this means Apple is confident that 2011 will be a banner year for the iPad. Most estimates put iPad sales in the neighborhood of 45-48 million units for 2011.

In November alone, Apple reportedly bought 1.5 million screens from LG and 1.2 million from Samsung. Estimates for 2010 put iPad sales at 16.75 million since its debut in April. “LG Display is estimated to land orders for 35 million iPad panels in 2011, and Samsung and Chimei Innolux (CMI), who is scheduled to join Apple’s iPad supply chain in the first quarter of 2011, will each receive orders for 15 million units,” writes DigiTimes.

The massive number of orders should help Apple save money on economy of scale as well, since all screens will be 9.7-inch. In an October conference call, Steve Jobs noted Apple’s efficiency at production: “Our potential competitors are having a tough time coming close to iPad’s pricing. iPad incorporates everything we’ve learned about building high value products. We create our own A4 chip, software, battery chemistry, enclosure, everything. This results in an incredible product at a great price. The proof will be in the pricing of our competitors’ products, which will offer less for more,” said Jobs.

While 65 million units is a lot to sell, perhaps Apple executives believe the CDMA version of the iPad and further pushes into the business market will help propel sales. The increase in competition may ultimately help the iPad as well, validating the existence of tablets and raising the iPad’s stature as the top tablet, much like Android competition seems to have  helped the iPhone 4, which has exceeded all sales expectations since its debut in June.

Or perhaps the iPad 2’s design alone will move the units. Rumor has it that the device will feature a wide-range speaker and flat-back design as well as a smudge-proof screen and other improvements when it debuts in a few months.