No one knows how many iPad 2s Apple sold over the weekend, but analysts put the number somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million.
Analysts started proffering first weekend iPad 2 sales estimates as early as Sunday evening. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray estimated Apple sold about 500,000 of the tablet computers. Last year, Apple sold 300,000 opening weekend, and announced as much the Monday after the original iPad went on sale. There was no splashy press announcement from Apple today, however.
Wedbush Securities analyst Scott Sutherland was even more bullish than Munster's generous estimate. "We would not be surprised to see Apple sell closer to 1 million iPad 2s in the opening weekend," Sutherland said. So right now, analysts believe sales range between half a million and 1 million. That's a pretty big gap there, fellas.
Based on how tough it was to find an iPad this past weekend, all we can really say with authority is that demand outstripped supply for the iPad 2 -- by a wide margin. iPad's are already selling for more than twice the retail cost on eBay as gray marketers look to make a quick buck.
The stores I called this morning were still sold out, and didn't know (or couldn't say) when they would receive more inventory. If you want to buy an iPad 2 from Apple's Web site, the wait has stretched from an initial delay of 3 to 5 days all the way out to 3 to 4 weeks. That and the sell-out over the weekend clearly show that the buying public is hungry for Apple's tablet.
One might ask why we haven't heard a word from Apple on initial sales. After all, it was pleased as punch to announce the 300,000 unit sales last year. Why so quiet this year? My guess is that Apple is waiting until it hits the big 1,000,000 number before making news of it.
And what of the Motorola Xoom, the Android-based iPad competitor? Motorola hasn't announced any sales figures to date. One analyst at Morgan Keegan called it a slow-but-steady seller.
The analyst called up about 80 Verizon Wireless stores and, based on the information gathered during those calls, estimated that each Verizon Wireless store is selling two Xooms per day. That might not sound like a whole lot, but it puts Motorola on track to sell about 300,000 in its first quarter of availability.
With the Xoom available, and the iPad 2 not immediately available, one has to wonder if would-be iPad buyers will take the Xoom as a consolation prize or wait for Apple's tablet to become more widely available again.
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