Reading The iPad Tea Leaves

Now that we are beginning the first full week post iPad launch, there are various reports being published on the Internet regarding iPad sales. Apple released its own numbers, saying that approximately 300,000 iPads were sold on the first weekend of sales. Apple also noted that more than 1 million apps were downloaded, and that it sold 250,000 eBooks. The sales numbers are decent, but lower than some analysts estimates. The big queston is, how well will the iPad sell in the long term? Some articles that I have read accounts for the lower initial sales due to consumer uncertainty regarding whether the iPad is something they will use. I would also add that we are currently in a different economic situation now than in 2007, so there may be an issue of want vs. need at play. Frankly, I think there will also be more mobile phone sales than computer sales of any form, and for many their smarpthone is a good enough tablet computer.

SlashGear has a related article stating that first day sales do not indicate that Apple is creating a new market for themselves with the iPad, citing that 74% of those who bought iPads are Mac owners, and 66% own iPhones. To me that information supports the idea that first day sales were primarily to Apple fans who are always more prone to buy a new device from Apple than anyone else. The data suggests to me that the big work for Apple lies ahead of them in getting a broader base of consumers to buy the iPad. The potential market for the iPad comprised of consumers who already own a smartphone and/or an eBook reader, so Apple needs to convince those consumers to buy yet another device or replace what they currently use with an iPad, and I suspect that is a much more difficult sales pitch than selling iPhones.