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Speculation sees iPad sales strong, signs of shortages



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Reality or hype? Every official indication appears that the iPad launch is going according to plan. The company still lists April 3rd delivery for pre-orders and in-store reservations. Still, speculation before the day it went on sale finished saw concerns of iPad shortages.

Fortune is tracking customers sharing ordering info, and they're speculating Apple sold over 50,000 iPads in the first couple hours it went on sale. That number was over 90,000 after six hours. The figures were created by comparing order numbers, however, the numbers were from all Apple Store online sales, and not just iPads. So, even though Apple online sales yesterday were heavy on the iPad, surely people are buying regular stuff just like any other day.

Update: Latest figures put "Day 1" launch numbers at about 120,000 iPad sold. Also, it appears the investor forum tracking has formulated a baseline of daily Apple online store sales. They're accounting for 16,500 sales that aren't likely iPad related. Still a bit of a shot in the dark, but sound like a pretty good educated guess absent an official Apple count.

This all doesn't include in-store reservations, which also seem to be robust. TUAW is reporting on retail sources who claim at the end of the day Friday 41,000 reservations were made. The reservations are only available for the Wi-Fi iPad. Given the Saturday delivery date, many shoppers may be opting for an in-store pick-up, although many Apple-heads enjoy the iDay event experience either way. Also, Apple indicates it will be hosting some launch-day festivities for the iPad on the 3rd. Picking up in store also allows users to check out the iPad and accessories before buying.

In more in-store news, MacDailyNews is reporting that some readers are saying Apple is warning customers about jumping on the reservation system late. Some customers who pre-ordered and wished to change to in-store pickup were reportedly told doing so would mean canceling their order and submitting a new reservation. Due to "overwhelming demand" there may not be enough iPads to fill reservations, the site relays. As noted, however, Apple is still promising April 3 pick up for reservations. It would seem reasonable that if Apple truly feared not filling reservations, it would stop promising such.

The difference between the two purchasing options is a pre-sale is a hard commitment to buy with a credit card on file to be charged when shipped. A reservation is just an intention to pick up with no credit card commitment. One is a set sale for Apple, the other is just a way to help gauge inventory at stores. Apple will likely hold a specified inventory for reservations and iPads that aren't picked up will become available to walk-in traffic. Apple says an iPad will be waiting for reservers until 3PM on the 3rd, but it hedges that by saying quantities will be limited and sales are first-come first-served. Apple is permitting two pre-sales per customer and one reservation per Apple ID.

For those wondering who's buying what, Fortune is also tracking the customer-provided sales mix. With a limited sampling of just 54 iPads, they're listing the Wi-Fi iPad bringing in about 70-percent of orders vs Wi-Fi/3G models. This makes sense since the 3G iPads aren't expected to ship for six-seven weeks or so, which is plenty of time to watch the Wi-Fi launch and decide which iPad to get, or even to get one at all. Other numbers include 40-percent opting for the cheapest 16 GB iPad of both models, 28-percent the 32 GB, and 33-percent the 64 GB.


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