Apple’s iPad is flying off the virtual shelves

Pre-orders at the rate of 25,000 per hour

IF YOU WANTED an iPad and haven’t placed your pre-order already, then it might be too late, as it seems like the iPad, despite plenty of criticism, is set to be yet another huge success for Apple, at least if estimated pre-order figures are anything to go by.

It’s hardly a surprise that Apple has had a fair few pre-orders, but at the current rate of an estimated 20-25,000 iPad’s an hour, Apple is going to run out of stock quickly. No one knows exactly how many iPad’s have been pre-ordered by Apple, and the speculations are based on order numbers that are presumed to be in numerical order. It’s important to note that Apple’s order numbers include other products as well, but some sources are suggesting that Apple had hit 51,000 orders between 8.30am and 11.05am EST today.

How many of these orders are actually iPad’s is a different matter, but it’s expected that most of them are. Apple put a two iPad’s per customer limit in place to prevent bulk orders and the company is said to have only 300,000 units ready for the April 3rd delivery date. At this rate it looks like Apple will sell out that stock by the end of the day and we’re just talking about the WiFi models here, as the 3G models won’t ship until an as yet unannounced date in late April.

Customers who have wanted to change their orders from delivery to in-store pickup have been told by Apple sales representatives that they will have to cancel their order and place an in-store pickup order in its place. However, the same customers have also been told that if they cancel their current order, they might not be able to pick one up in-store on the 3rd of April due to the overwhelming demand.

We can’t fault Apple for its success even with what in our opinion is anything but an exciting product from the company. However, it’s interesting that there has been such a huge initial rush for the iPad, especially as the first units available will lack both 3G and the built in GPS receiver. It also appears that the 32GB $599 model has proven to be the most popular one if early reports are to be believed, but this wasn’t entirely unexpected.

Let’s hope for Apple’s sake that the pre-order customers are happy with their purchases, as otherwise the company might end up processing a lot of customer refunds. The iPad has yet to prove its worth and it seems like Apple decided on a last minute feature change by swapping the mute button for a screen orientation lock. This means that you can lock the screen in landscape or portrait mode depending on how you’d like to use the iPad without having to worry about the accelerometer kicking in.S|A

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