The company's introduction of the widely-hyped device helped drive record traffic to social networks, particularly the micro-blogging service Twitter.
Market watchers at Retrevo found the iPad launch generated about 7,000 tweets per minute on Twitter. By comparison, typical celebrity-driven topics, like "Britney Spears", only drive about 10 to 20 tweets per minute, Retrevo said.
Retrevo, which tracks online trends through its "Buzzmeter," watched the hype around iPad mount like a tsunami.
The firm saw "a low level buzz that builds toward the formal announcement at 10:10. Activity drops off momentarily, followed by the highest level of the event measuring 7,000, TPM which coincides with the hardware description at 10:30," Retrevo said.
Retrevo said its online poll also correctly predicted an entry-level version of the iPad priced below $600.
The iPad's debut also lit up other social networks, as the tablet-style computer dominated status updates on Facebook throughout much of Wednesday. Despite the buzz, not everyone was thrilled.
Adobe marketing exec Adrian Ludwig slammed Apple for the iPad's lack of Flash support. "If I want to connect to Disney, Hulu, Miniclip, Farmville, ESPN, Kongregate, or JibJab—not to mention millions of other sites on the Web, I'll be out of luck," Ludwig said, in a blog post Thursday.
Apple insisted the device is plenty flexible—and capable of running the more than 140,000 programs currently available on its online App Store.
"iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price," said Jobs. Pricing starts at $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model, and $699 for the 64GB version.
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