iPad Set To Become Apple's Biggest Earner?

Latest guesstimated figures show that the iPad is on the verge of surpassing the iPhone 3GS smartphone as the most popular Apple device with sales expected to reach around 800,000 per month in the US alone.

That's obviously not counting the 18 other countries where the device will go on sale by the end of the year. It should therefore not be surprising if by this time next year, Apple manages to derive most of its revenue from the iPad family.

A chart prduced by Silicon Alley insider earlier this year based on company reports show that the biggest earner for the company is the iPhone, not the Mac family.

However, selling eight million iPads in nine months at a minimum of $499 (or £529) each would bring at least $4 billion for Apple by the end of 2010.

That's of course excluding peripherals, related revenue streams and the millions of books purchased from the iBookstore and the tens of millions downloaded from the App Store.

Should the iPad reach $6 billion worth of revenue by this time this year, it would have done, in one year what the iPhone took more than two years to achieve. And that's not all.

There have been rumours back in April that Apple is looking to build a smaller version of the iPad, possibly one with a screen as small as 5-inch. This, we reckoned, might effectively kill the iPod Touch if pitched at an affordable price.

If the iPad starts to eat into the media player market, then, it makes the case of the iPad as Apple's biggest revenue earner an even more compelling one.