Say what you will about Apple, but it has a loyal customer base that's the envy of the gadget world...
Following the US launch of pre-orders on Friday, early estimates claim up to 120,000 tablets were sold in the first 24 hours alone. Given there are only 86,400 seconds in a day, that's a frightening sales rate for any product in its first generation and especially for one that has come under considerable scrutiny.
What else the numbers tell us are that orders were roughly equal for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, despite the fact the 32GBer was expected to be the sweet spot in the range. Sales of the WiFi only version of the iPad were also dominant which is probably down to its earlier availability.
Consequently revenue is put down at approximately $75m (roughly £50m) for Friday and it likely to have rival companies green with envy. After all, who else could command such a reaction for a tablet which lacks HDMI, Ethernet and USB ports, memory card slots, ships with no mains power cable, uses a niche SIM format, has limited codec support, mono speakers, no Flash support, no multi-tasking, an atypical 1024 x 768 aspect ratio display, a non-removable battery, a price in excess of that for a fully featured netbook or CULV laptop and is lacking many iPhone and iPod touch core apps? It's marketing genius.
In related news Apple has revealed a novel way of overcoming users' fears about the iPad's non-removable battery. Rather than send the iPad back to have it replaced - as is what happens with an iPhone or iPod touch - the owner sends back the iPad, pays $99 and has a brand new replacement iPad sent to them (be sure to back up first).
Obviously the iPad needs to be in warranty to qualify, but it does raise two interesting questions: 1. just how cheaply can Apple make the iPad to make this the more cost efficient option? and 2. isn't the disposable nature of technology today truly frightening?
Now please feel free to fight amongst yourselves...