By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Apple has sold just under 200,000 iPads in Australia since launch, according to a survey released today by GfK Retail and Technology ANZ. Although GfK does not track iPad sales conclusively (though it will be starting to in Janaury 2011), it is 95 per cent confident that its consumer based survey has provided an accurate portrait of the tablet PC market.

According to senior account director Phil Burnham, 188,000 tablet PCs were been sold in Australia between April and September 2010. He said that “virtually all of those sales [were of] Apple iPads”.

Other findings from this survey include high consumer knowledge of the tablet PC as a category, with four out of five respondents saying they were aware of the form factor; and high consumer interest in the category, with one in eight Australians planning on purchasing a tablet PC in the coming year.

There is some doubt over the complete accuracy of these figures, however, with GfK using a survey method to collect and analyse the data. Instead of collecting true sales figures from retailers, as it does for the vast majority of categories it covers, GfK has surveyed 12,084 respondents, aged 14-65, through an online medium to alight at these figures.

"Any type of research (consumer or otherwise) has a margin of error – many researchers just don’t point that out because their sample sizes are usually only a few hundred people. But with a sample size of over 12,000, the margin of error on the total market data is tiny (0.21%), which is why we made explicit mention of it in the footnotes," said Burnham.

Although GfK confidently says that 188,000 tablet PCs have been sold, the full estimate band is between 156,000 and 219,000 units. Those good at maths will know that 188,000 is just under the mean of these two figures.