Apple sold around 450,000 iPads through April 8, CEO Steve Jobs said during a presentation at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, along with some 600,000 iBooks downloaded and 3.5 million apps. Apple had previously announced that the multitouch tablet device had sold 300,000 units by midnight on April 3, its first day of general release.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that Best Buy, Apple’s sole iPad channel partner, had sold out of its iPad inventory, although that inventory would supposedly be restocked by April 11.
Although Jobs used the presentation to display the short-term success of the iPad, the event’s actual focus was on the unveiling of the next-generation iPhone OS 4, which contains several fairly radical changes to the traditional iPhone interface. Prime among them is the ability to multitask, something Apple had denied previous versions of the device’s operating system, and a feature by which rival manufacturers such as Google attempted to differentiate their own smartphones.
In a move that may eventually prove more controversial, Apple also introduced an advertising platform, dubbed “iAd,” which will allow developers to embed advertising directly into their apps. Apple believes that, based on the amount of time that iPhone owners spend using apps, the iAd platform is capable of some 1 billion ad impressions per day.
Jobs announced that the iPhone OS 4 will support iBooks, an e-reader application that originally made its debut with the iPad. Both the iPhone and iPad versions feature the same user interface, with books displayed on blonde-wood shelving; in addition, ebooks will sync their bookmarks and last page read on both the user’s iPad and iPhone-functionality that mimics that of Amazon’s Kindle, which allows book data to be ported between the Kindle e-reader, mobile devices and PCs.
By the end of 2010, Apple will find itself facing a few more competitors in the tablet space. Hewlett-Packard, perhaps most notably, has been issuing videos and official blog posts detailing its upcoming slate device, which will feature at least one camera along with video conferencing capability. On April 5, Engadget leaked what was purportedly an internal HP presentation, detailing how the slate device would retail for between $549 and $599, and feature a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor and an inward-facing VGA Webcam, along with an outward-facing 3-megapixel camera.
Nokia is also developing a tablet competitor for later this year, according to recent online reports. “The market will play host to a flood of ‘me too’ tablets in 2010, but it’s an immature product category with an unproven use case,” CSS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber told Reuters on April 7. “Apple’s brand and service offering means the iPad will be an exception in a category that will struggle to gain consumer acceptance.”