As of September, Apple had sold about 40 million first and second iPads, generating more than $25 billion in sales. Now an analyst is predicting Apple to sell a “conservative” 48 million iPads in 2012 alone.

“We believe this significant refresh will likely help drive higher iPad sales and help further differentiate from arguably the only real competitor in the market, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and not to mention the myriad of Android offerings out there,” explained Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. “We are currently modeling 48 million iPad shipments for calendar 2012.”

With no true competition (besides the Kindle Fire) in the works, that number almost seems realistic.

While an awfully big number, 48 million could end up an undercut, according to Wu. The analyst thinks 48 million “could turn out conservative.”

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