iPad Pre-Orders Top 120,000 On First Day, Analysts Estimate

UPDATE 3/16/2010 2:08 PM ET: The Street claims that previous estimates of iPad pre-orders are incorrect, and in fact underestimate the initial, pre-release demand for the device.

The Street explains:

One of the most closely watched Apple iPad sales bloggers Deagol's AAPL Model estimated that first day orders hit 120,000 units but dropped off dramatically to end the weekend with a total of about 152,000 Apple iPads sold. "That number is low," says an industry analyst who is independently monitoring the iPad sales. The analyst, who is collecting sales data for clients and asked not to be identified, says the current tally is conservative and actual iPad sales are significantly higher. The analyst declined to offer an estimate however.

Pre-orders for the iPad kicked off on Friday morning, March 12. There was considerable pre-launch hype about what Steve Jobs has called a 'revolutionary' and 'magical' device, so how well did Apple's tablet actually do on its first day on the market?

Sales data is still sketchy, but surveys by CNN and other sites provide an approximation of the iPad's pre-order sales---and it looks like they were strong at the very start.

CNN's Investor Village's AAPL Sanity board estimated that 120,000 iPads were sold on the first day the iPad went on sale; that 16, 32 and 64GB iPads were purchased with equal frequency; and that the majority of buyers opted for the Wi-Fi only models over Wi-Fi+3G enabled machines.

CNN Money's Fortune Brainstorm Tech summarizes the findings:

* Nearly 120,000 iPads sold. Their math: 124,596 (orders of all Apple products Friday) minus 16,500 (the average number of online orders on a normal day) times 1.11 (the average number of iPads ordered per customer) equals 119,987 iPads.

* Wi-Fi over Wi-Fi+3G. Customers preferred the cheaper (and available April 3) Wi-Fi-only iPad over the Wi-Fi plus 3G model (due out at the end of April) by roughly two to one.

* 16, 32 and 64GB iPads are equally popular. Pre-orders were almost evenly split among the 16, 32 and 64 GB models, with a slight preference for the least-expensive 16 GB model, which starts at $499, and the most-expensive 64GB, which starts at $699 and can run as high as $829 (AT&T charges not included).

As Fast Company notes, the number of iPads order per person (1.1) seems to be lower than anticipated: prior to the pre-order sale, Apple announced that it would limit the number of iPads sold during the pre-order period to 2 per customer.

The AAPL Sanity board based their data on 'a sampling of 99 orders (for 110 iPads) over 19.5 hours, and not counting units that were reserved but not ordered.'

Estimates by Phanphare and the Investor Village's AAPL Sanity team estimated that Apple appeared to be selling around 20,000-25,000 iPads per hour during the first few hours of the pre-order sale.

An analyst with Valcent Financial Group, Victor Castroll, sums up the iPad's pre-order success:
'Apple has been able to generate over $75 million in revenue in one day on a product that 99.9% of purchasers haven't touched or for that matter, even seen in person.'

However, Apple's sales haven't been as rosy since its first day, and new figures from blogger-analyst Daniel Tello indicate that a 'dramatic fall-off over the weekend' occurred. Tello estimates that orders placed per hour dropped significantly to about 1,000 an hour on Saturday and Sunday, March 13 and 14, and attributed the rash of early sales to 'pure overexcited fanboism.'

Still trying to make up your mind on whether or not to buy the iPad?

The Huffington Post has a guide to '13 Things You Need To Know About The iPad,' as well as rundown of the '9 Worst Things About The iPad.' Also check out pictures and video of the iPad.