Apple sells 300K iPads on first day

Apple said it sold 300,000 iPad tablets on the gadget's first day of availability, but analysts remain divided on the device's prospects.

apple ipadApple said its first-day sales figure of 300,000 includes pre-ordered iPads, deliveries to channel partners and sales at Apple's own retail stores. The company began selling the WiFi-only version of the iPad this weekend; the version with 3G service from AT&T Mobility will go on sale later this month.

Analysts are all over the map with estimates for how many iPads Apple will ship this year, an indication there remains deep uncertainty over whether Apple can maintain demand for the product the way it has with the iPhone. Research firm iSuppli is at the high end of the scale, forecasting 7.1 million iPad sales worldwide this year. Meantime, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicts Apple will sell 5.5 million iPads this year, while Forrester Research is predicting just 3 million unit sales.

AT&T has said it expects iPad users to primarily rely on wired WiFi connections and not on the company's cellular network. Apple has gone to great pains to emphasize the flexibility of the 3G pricing for the iPad, which is prepaid and can be activated right on the device--without a trip to an AT&T store.

Apple said apps have so far been a huge hit with iPad users, noting that on average iPad users downloaded more than three apps and one book within hours of getting the device.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this VentureBeat article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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