Apple’s iPad was received with skepticism after Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced it months ago. The idea behind the new device was to fill a gaping hole between the MacBook, which retails for $999, and the iPod Touch, which is a small device. Out of the brainstorming sessions at Apple came the iPad, which fills the need for the company to develop a low-cost computing device and e-book reader. The unit’s price was much lower than expected, starting at $499. Last weekend, the iPad officially went on sale at Apple Stores nationwide in the United States.
iPad sales were expected to be nearly 300,000, including pre-orders taken online and at retail stores. Some analysts expected actual sales to be in excess of a half-million units. While Apple has yet to release final weekend figures, the company said on the morning of April 5th, it had sold 300,000 iPads on the first day. The sales included pre-orders as well as direct sales at Apple Retail Stores. Apple also announced that over one million apps from the App Store and 250,000 e-books from the new iBookstore were downloaded.
“It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world – it’s going to be a game changer,” said Jobs. “iPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad.”
Selling 300,000 units of a new product on its first day is considered to be a success in the tech industry. All models of the iPad will debut in other countries, specifically Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, by the end of the month. According to the San Diego Entertainer, very few stores sold out of the iPad device, raising questions about how much demand there actually might be.
CNET is reporting that iPad devices are expected to dampen PC Netbook sales because the units are much sexier to consumers. Unfortunately, the reviews aren’t all flattering for the iPad after a weekend of consumer use. Many tech outlets are reporting that complaints are arising from users experiencing issues with their devices. Two of the most common complaints have been weak Wi-Fi signals and confusion over USB charging.
Apple’s tech discussion forums have been overloaded with activity regarding the Wi-Fi issue, which is the result of a user receiving a significantly lower signal than computers or iPhones held in the same location relative to the access point. The reduced signal is causing slower performance and a smaller Wi-Fi range for many users. On top of that, some users are complaining about seeing significant fluctuations in signals.
The other major issue is regarding difficulty charging the iPad via a USB port. A number of people have discovered that their iPads won’t charge when connected to USB ports on some computers. Apple stated that this is due to the required power draw for the device. Apple has recommended that users charge their iPads using the included power outlet or through a high-powered USB 2.0 port.
A statement from Apple regarding the charging difficulties reads, “When attached to a computer via a standard USB port (most PCs or older Mac computers), the iPad will charge, but only when it’s in sleep mode. Make sure your computer is on while charging the iPad via USB. If the iPad is connected to a computer that’s turned off or is in sleep or standby mode, the iPad battery will continue to drain.”
Apple’s iPad is available in retail Apple Stores nationwide and through the Apple online store. The base unit, which features a 16 GB hard drive, runs for $499, while the top Wi-Fi model boasts 64 GB of space for $699. A 3G compliant model that works with the AT&T network starts at $629, with the 64 GB model running $829. Monthly data costs are not included.