Apple sold around 300,000 iPads in the United States by midnight on April 3, the tablet device's first day of general release, according to the company. That number apparently includes preordered iPads, which independent analysts estimated sold 120,000 units on their first day of availability in March.
Apple also announced that more than 1 million apps for the iPad were downloaded on April 3, along with 250,000 ebooks from the iBookstore. In an April 5 statement, Apple CEO Steve Jobs suggested that the average iPad owner downloaded three apps and "close to one book" within their first few hours of purchase.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jobs also termed the iPad "a game changer."
Apple may have sold around 120,000 iPads on March 12, the first day that the device became available on the company's official Website for preordering, according to blogger and analyst Daniel Tello. Along with members of Investor Village's AAPL Sanity forum, including Victor Castroll of Valcent Financial Group, Tello used data from a 99-order sample over 19.5 hours to reach an estimate of 119,987 units preordered.
By March 26, Tello estimated that some 240,000 iPads had been preordered, with the device selling at a rate of 7,000 units per day during its second week. If that rate held constant for the third week of preorders, then an additional 49,000 units would have been moved by the April 3 launch date, for a total of 289,000 units.
Of iPad preorders, Tello originally estimated that some 69 percent of customers gravitated toward the WiFi version of the device, which was immediately available for in-store purchase or shipment on April 3, versus the iPad with both WiFi and 3G, which will be available later in April. If you take those numbers as gospel and apply them to an estimate of 289,000 total preordered iPads, then some 199,410 of the preordered iPads were the WiFi version. And if you take that math, in turn, and apply it to Apple's official statement, then around 100,000 iPads could have been sold in Apple and Best Buy stores on April 3.
The 16GB version of the iPad costs $499 with WiFi, and $629 with WiFi and 3G. The 32GB version costs $599 with WiFi, and $729 with WiFi and 3G. The 64GB version costs $699 with WiFi, and $829 with WiFi and 3G.
According to a Morgan Stanley analyst's March 29 research note, Apple could ship as many as 8 million to 10 million iPads in 2010, while selling in the neighborhood of 2 million units. "Near-term, we believe the iPad will target the sizable sub-$800 consumer notebook market, which equates to 30 million units in the U.S. and 120 million units globally," analyst Katy Huberty wrote. That "momentum" could be strengthened by a robust app ecosystem, as well as content such as TV shows and ebooks.
Researcher iSuppli, meanwhile, has suggested that Apple could sell 7.1 million iPads this year.