Apple’s much hyped iPad landed in consumer hands over the weekend. The device was made available in Apple Stores and Best Buy stores at 9 AM on Saturday – those that pre-ordered iPads from Apple’s website received them Saturday via UPS.
The downside to a Saturday launch was that consumers with plans had to pre-sign for the iPad with a form printed from the Apple website or risk missing the delivery when UPS rolled around. Buyers in areas where UPS offered no Saturday delivery were out of luck until Monday. Pre-sales on iPads boomed and early reports indicated that after the initial pre-orders were filled, the iPad would be out of stock for a while. As it turned out, Apple had some tricks up its sleeves with enough stock to fill Best Buy stores and offer some to its hoard of mom and pop Apple resellers as well in many areas.
Apple has announced that its official launch day sales of the iPad were 300,000 units.
“It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world—it’s going to be a game changer,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad.”
One of the only major complaints that the iPad — and all Apple hardware for that matter tend — to draw is that the OS is closed. Buyers can only install software that Apple approves, which rankles the open source crowd. The iPad launched on Saturday and hackers have already jailbroken the device. Those willing to jailbreak their device will find that installing unapproved software can be done, but carries its own risks and rewards.
The iPad is not likely to replace a desktop computer or a notebook for many users, but the iPad may well replace the hoards of netbooks that are selling for many who purchase the device starting at $499. The big issue for many is that the iPad lacks support for Adobe Flash used for video and games on many online sites. Hardcore Facebook fans for instance will find that Farmville and Café World are off limits for now on the iPad thanks to the lack of Flash. However, video fans are going to get their video fix thanks to the glut of HTML5 supporting video players and feeds coming online to support the iPad and other devices.
The iPad may well appeal to user groups that have never before been interested in Apple products. One interesting development is that automaker Hyundai will be giving an iPad to buyers of its new Equus sedan. The iPad will come loaded with the Equus owner’s manual and will have an app that makes it easier for owners to schedule service appointments.
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