(ArsTechnica) -- Some people still doubt the iPad's chances for success, but current sales rates suggest that the device could rank among top consumer electronics categories within a year.
As noted by Bernstein Research analyst Colin McGranahan, consumers are adopting the iPad faster than any other consumer electronics device, including the iPhone and the near-ubiquitous DVD player.
"The iPad did not seem destined to be a runaway product success straight out of the box," said McGranahan in a recent note to investors, acknowledging the many criticisms about the iPad's lack of certain features at launch.
"By any account, the iPad is a runaway success of unprecedented proportion."
The iPad's current sales rate is approximately 4.5 million units per quarter, according to Bernstein. That tops the 1 million per quarter that the original iPhone sold at launch, and the 350,000 per quarter when DVD players first launched.
If the current rate persists, the iPad could become a $9 billion per year business, blowing right past game consoles and cell phones to become the fourth largest consumer electronics category. That would put the iPad right behind TVs, smartphones and laptops.
With yet more competing products in the pipeline, Apple will have to work hard to translate its first-mover advantage into consistently stellar sales as it has done with the iPod and the iPhone.
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