Apple said Monday that it had sold over 300,000 iPads on Saturday, which could be taken as a good sign of the device's potential success. One big wildcard here - these sales also include pre-orders and deliveries to the company's retail partners as well. That said, the true number of these devices sold is probably a good deal less than what the company would like you to believe.
Apple's new book store did well too, with a quarter million books downloaded on Saturday, and CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement that new iPad owners were downloading an average of about one book and three applications within hours of unpacking the device. All in all, iPad's launch numbers were very similar to the launch of the initial iPhone.
Some analysts had gone way overboard in their predictions, with Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster being the most overly aggressive with projected sales of 650,000+ in the first 24 hours. Much of this probably had to do with the overwhelming hype surrounding the device, which arguably was unwarranted in most cases. Lines for the iPad, as described by our own Harry McCracken, were in most cases much smaller than that for the iPhone.
The real test for the viability of this device remains in these weeks following the launch. Will the device continue to sell after the initial flurry of activity? Will we see another spike in purchasing when the WiFi+3G model releases late this month? It's hard to say. Price will likely play a large part in how this does, and the company has not been shy to say publicly it will tweak prices to meet its sales goals.
The answer will come when we get a better look at the demographics of its buyers. If its just the techie/Apple faithful/Gotta-have-it crowd, its going to be Apple's next iCube. However, if Ma and Pa begin snagging their own iPads, then we know Apple's onto something.
As much as I can't wait to get one myself, I'm still undecided here on how I think it will do. It's a big gamble for Apple, one I'm sure they'll hope will pay off.