This is a massive number. But in the context of other massive numbers - namely Apple's previous product launches - it isn't exactly stunning.
First, the raw numbers. 300,000 iPads were sold, leading to one million app downloads and 250,000 ebook downloads from the iBook Store. Steve Jobs puts it another way:
iPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad.
Close to one book!
The first comparison a lot of people will make is to the original iPhone, which sold 270,000 units in the first 30 hours. But remember!
• The original iPhone's minimum price was $US500, too, and that didn't count the two-year AT&T blood contract.
• It didn't do as much - there were no apps and features were missing. We said to wait for the second gen in our review; this time, it's probably safe to buy during the first generation.
• There was no familiarity: The iPhone was completely new. The iPad is familiar to iPhoners, of which there are tens of millions.
By any normal measure, the iPad had a strong first day. What it didn't have was a 700,000-strong SUPER AWESOME GENE MUNSTER BONANZA day, because analysts are always wrong, period:
Seriously, what are these guys even accomplishing with their same-day, absurdly wrong sales predictions? Grabbing headlines, yes, but what else? And what good are the headlines if they all end up serving as eternal monuments to how terribly wrong these people are, at all times?
In the context of Apple, whose latter two generations of the iPhone sold over a million on opening weekend, these sales figures are far from surprising and possibly even disappointing. The real test is the next month, when the otherwise uninterested are either drawn to their friends' iPads or not; nearly everyone who's seen my iPad has wanted to play with it, but I don't think that's converted to any new sales yet. Don't be surprised if launch day #2, though, outpaces launch day #1.