Apple Sells Twice as Many iPads as Expected

On its debut weekend, Apple sold nearly twice the number of iPads analysts had expected. An estimated 700,000 300,000 iPads sold this weekend; analysts had estimated far fewer of the tablet computers would sell. Bloomberg has more:

Hundreds of shoppers lined up to wait for stores to open, though crowds didn’t camp out for days this time, as they did when the iPhone debuted. Many of the buyers identified themselves as early adopters and Apple enthusiasts, making it harder to tell if the iPad will win over mainstream customers.

The iPad’s success will depend partly on the attractiveness of applications that run on it. CBS Corp., the most-watched U.S. TV network, announced plans last week to offer episodes of shows such as “Survivor” and “CSI” on the iPad. Walt Disney Co. will release iPad applications for ABC shows and ESPN games. And Netflix Inc., the movie-rental company, will let subscribers watch programming streamed to the iPad.

The device went on sale April 3, drawing crowds to stores across the U.S. and rivaling the frenzy seen when the iPhone was introduced in 2007. Lines at five stores surveyed by Piper Jaffray were longer than expected, yet Apple had iPads available late in the opening day, signaling the company was able to produce enough devices to fulfill initial demand, Munster said.

Analysts also expect Apple to sell 5 million iPads during the coming year, according to Bloomberg, but those are the same analysts who just underestimated the product’s weekend sales. The article also indicates that higher-than-expected sales may point to a tablet revival. It’s worth considering. I think it’s still too early to tell.