Apple Sells 1 Million iPads in 7 Weeks

Apple announced today that it has sold 1 million iPads since the iPod touch-based tablet device was first offered for pre-sale on March 12. So, it took just under two months to reach this milestone.

Although 1 million units sold is a seemingly impressive number, this announcement actually marks the second time that the iPad has missed sales expectations in its short life. In its first weekend of availability, analysts had expected Apple to sell as many as 700,000 units, and some actually bumped up their predictions over that weekend due to strong Apple Store attendance. But the following Monday, Apple announced that it had sold just 300,000 units, or roughly half the average estimate.

Since then, Apple pundits have pointed to a site called Chitika Labs, which offers its own (bogus) take on iPad sales. According to the site, Apple should have surpassed 1 million units sold over a week ago, but this week's official announcement of 1 million units sold proves the site is woefully off-base. (Today, the site claims Apple has sold more than 1.8 million units, for example. Feel free to tune it out if you're into facts.)

Of course, Apple is touting the 1 million figure as a huge success, but then it's also measuring the time period only back to April 3, the day the first iPads became available in the United States, and not to March 12, which is when customers could actually begin paying for the product. So, in Apple's version of events, it has sold 1 million units in just 28 days, not in the 49 days it actually took.

"One million iPads in 28 days—that’s less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in another misdirection. That original iPhone he's referring to cost a whopping $400 to $600 when it first arrived, or about $2,500 over the two years of the required AT&T data and phone subscription. It was so expensive, in fact, that Apple memorably dropped prices within a few months, triggering a consumer demand for the product that, frankly, hasn't eased since. The iPad, meanwhile, doesn't come with an expensive subscription plan. (That said, the iPad asking price of $500 to $830 is indeed very expensive, especially compared with netbooks that typically sell for just $300 to $400. Unlike a real computer, the iPad must be first connected to, and synched with, a PC before it can be used.)

Apple also noted that developers have created more than 5,000 apps for the iPad, and that the iPad can run most of the 200,000 iPhone/iPod touch apps, as well. That latter bit makes sense because the iPad is just an oversized (and overly expensive, in my opinion) iPod touch.

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