iPad sales fall short of expectations

Yesterday, I wrote that some analysts predicted first-day iPad sales of between 600,000 to 700,000 units, including preorders. That number turned out to be wildly optimistic. Apple says it sold around 300,000 iPads in the U.S. on Saturday, which is still not to shabby.

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

But now what? After the initial excitement and long lines petered out, Apple stores returned to normal. Most stores didn't sell out of the tablet computer device, which starts at $499. And a lot of people who showed up to see what all the fuss was about didn't actually buy an iPad.

But fear not, Apple fans. Some of Apple's biggest products, like the iPhone, have aged well. The iPhone sold a total of 42. 5 million units thus far, but in its first 30 hours of sales it sold only 270,000 units, less than half of analyst expectations at the time.

So, as with most things in life, only time will tell if the iPad becomes the magical product that revolutionizes how people use their computer, as Apple claims it is. Expect more applications to appear in the upcoming weeks which will make the iPad more useful. but at an average of $4.99 an app, I would also expect people to balk at the price.
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