AAPL) shoveled more coal into its money-making locomotive today (Wednesday) with the official launch of the New iPad.
If the third version of Apple's trend-setting tablet is as big a success as most expect, then owning the company's stock isn't the only way that Apple investors can profit. Many of Apple's suppliers will also reap reward from the New iPad.
The New iPad's marquee features, such as support for 4G LTE networks and the ultra-high resolution Retina display, should help Apple maintain its dominance in the tablet market at least through the end of the year. And if rumors of a 7-inch iPad Mini eventually pan out, Apple will have a cheaper tablet option to appeal to consumers now buying Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN) $199 Kindle Fire.
A Forrester Research report published yesterday (Tuesday) put the iPad's share of the tablet market at 73%, with no other rival having more than 5%.
Analyst estimates for 2012 iPad sales range from 55 million to 60 million. Apple has sold 55 million iPads since the product's debut in April 2010, winning over not just consumers but multiple markets.
"It's astonishing how fast the product has spread through business, education and health care," Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf told USA Today.
Sales of the iPad, along with the iPhone, have pleased Apple investors by pushing stock past $500 a share this year.
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