Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple sells 50,000 iPads in two hours

March 12, 2010: 12:58 PM ET

By one estimate, pre-orders were coming in Friday morning at the rate of 25,000 per hour

The folks who hang out at Investor Village's AAPL Sanity Board are too impatient to wait for Apple (AAPL) to announce sales figures; they much prefer to work them out on their own -- in real time.

Entering the order numbers associated with their own purchases on a Google spreadsheet, they think they've cracked the code. As of 11:05 a.m. ET -- two and a half hours after Apple's online store began taking pre-orders -- the group had received 15 confirmations with order numbers as high as 74,000 (the numbers don't necessarily start at zero and include non-iPad purchases).

"51,000 orders in two hours," announced Victor Castroll shortly after noon. He's an analyst with Valcent Financial Group and an AAPL Sanity member who, with the blogger-analyst who calls himself deagol, has been monitoring the spreadsheet.

His estimate -- which is adjusted for the roughly 15,000 online orders that come in a typical day -- jibes with a 20,000-per-hour figure published earlier by Silicon Alley Insider. That number was based on two sales made within 30 minutes that were 10,000 order numbers apart. Rumors from the supply chain suggest that Apple may have as few as 300,000 units available for sale on April 3.

Which iPads are people buying?

The 48 orders (for 54 iPads) reported to AAPL Sanity by Friday afternoon break down as follows:

  • Wi-Fi-only:      37 units (69%)
  • Wi-Fi + 3G:     17 (31%)
  • 16 GB:            21 (40%)
  • 32 GB:            15 (28%)
  • 64 GB:            18 (33%)

Six of the 48 people who reported their purchases ordered two iPads; one AAPL Sanity member said she was planning to buy nine.

If you want to contribute your information to the spreadsheet, you can e-mail it to ipadsales10@gmail.com. Castroll asks that you include your order number with the last three digits Xed out, the number of iPads you ordered, the order time, time zone, memory capacity and whether your iPad is Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + 3G.

UPDATES FROM CASTROLL:

  • 2:28 p.m. "We're now at about 74k in 4 1/2 hours."
  • 4:21 p.m. "We're at about 91k in six hours."

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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