Last Updated Apr 5, 2010 3:16 PM EDT
Munster's 700K guess wasn't impossible, but it looked fishy for a number of reasons:
- Munster has often been wrong in his pronouncements.
- He went into this predicting 200,000 in the first weekend, while many other analysts refused to make a guess because it was too hard to predict.
- There were all those rumors about an iPad shortage in the first week, with Apple saying that those who missed an initial cut-off date would have to wait until April 12.
So was Apple successful? I'd argue that it's simply too early to tell given the numbers. To hit 300,000 was only staying within the range of what most analysts had guessed ahead of time. From that view, it satisfied Wall Street.
But in the bigger issue of what this portends for long term success, things are far more cloudy. According to the Wall Street Journal, the lines in major metropolitan areas quickly thinned and only a few stores sold out of iPads. Because of Munster, the performance was now a let-down from a major trouncing of estimates.
And even then, it's all hooey. It doesn't matter how many the company sold in the first weekend. It doesn't matter how much buzz the company created or what coverage it received over the last few days. Apple is trying to breathe life into a product category -- tablet computing -- that over the years has never had zip. It's a case of raising the dead, and the real measure of success will not be how well the Apple faithful did what Jobs wanted them to do. (According to Piper Jaffray, 74 percent of the hundreds of iPad buyers it surveyed were Mac users and two-thirds already had iPhones.)
The only thing that matters is how successful the product line is over the next few months. And given some of the second thoughts coming from some of the self-admitted fanboys, this is a battle far from won. Apple has to keep the marketing press on, or it could badly stumble. Meanwhile, the news of iPad Wi-Fi connection issues already coming up on support forums isn't a good sign.
Image: Steve Rhodes