Apple iPad Sales Brisk Despite Holiday

Apple on Monday said that more than 300,000 iPads were sold in the U.S. as of midnight on Saturday, the first day the iPad was available in stores. That 300,000, Apple said, includes deliveries of pre-ordered iPads to customers and channel partners and sales from Apple Retail Stores.

Along with selling more than 300,000 of the devices, Apple also revealed that iPad users downloaded more than one million App Store applications and purchased more than 250,000 ebooks from its iBookstore on Saturday.

"It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world -- it's going to be a game changer," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement from Apple. "iPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad."

The Apple iPad hit Apple stores nationwide at 9 a.m. Saturday. Similar to the launches of Apple's now-iconic iPhone, droves of Apple faithful eagerly awaited the iPad's launch, lining up outside Apple stores nationally " some gathered as early as Friday -- to be among the first to get their mitts on Apple's answer to the tablet. Despite the long lines at some of Apple's major metropolitan stores, supply lasted throughout the day.

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The Apple iPad has been rumored for more than a year. The iPad is Apple's bid to take over the burgeoning market for tablets, a device form-factor that sits between a smartphone and a laptop, in Apple's case between an iPhone or iPod and a Macbook. Available in several configurations, the Wi-Fi enabled Apple iPad starts at $499 for 16 GB of memory.

While Apple moved more than 300,000 iPads in the first day, some estimates from analyst firms overshot actual Apple iPad sales.

Piper Jaffray & Co's Gene Munster told BusinessWeek in an interview that the Apple iPad likely pushed more than 700,000 sold in the iPad's inaugural weekend. True sales, however, were more in line with Piper Jaffray's earlier estimates, which expected between 200,000 and 300,000 iPads to sell.

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co's Toni Sacconaghi said Apple would move 300,000 to 400,000 iPads in its first weekend. Meanwhile, Mark Moskowitz of JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimated 825,000 in the quarter to June and 1.23 million in the September quarter. JPMorgan also forecasted that more than 4.8 million iPads would ship in the first 12 months.

Research firm iSuppli has estimated that Apple iPad shipments will eclipse 7.1 million units in 2010 and grow to 14.4 million units in 2011 and 20.1 million units in 2012.