As the iPad 2 wraps up its launch weekend, it sounds like analysts are revising their predictions about this being a successful launch to this being a very successful launch. No sales figures are in, although Apple was anticipated to sell half a million iPad 2s this weekend.
But the good news for Apple isn’t just in the strong sales. It’s who’s buying these tablets. According to a survey of those in line for the iPad 2, researchers at Piper Jaffray found that 70% of customers were new to the iPad — they weren’t owners of the first generation device.
That’s a notable figure as launch weekends are often driven by early adopters and those seeking upgrades. At the launch of the iPhone 4 last year, for example, just 23% of buyers were new to the iPhone platform.
New to the iPad, But Not New to iOS
The survey was based on a poll of 236 people in line for the iPad 2. Of those, 47% said they were buying a 3G model. 41% said they were buying the 32 GB model, up from 32% who bought that capacity of the first iPad.
Although many of these customers were new to the iPad, most were already owned Apple products. 65% said they owned an iPhone.
According to Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, the research firm says they’re sticking with their estimates for a launch weekend with sales of 400,000 to 500,000 iPads 2s. That number is, of course, limited by stock not just by demand, as the iPad 2 sold out in most retail locations and online orders say they’ll now ship in 3-4 weeks.
Will A Strong Launch Weekend Make This The Year of The iPad 2?
Munster had forecast sales of 5.5 million iPads in the March quarter, and he now says he thinks those numbers are “likely conservative” based on the strong demand for the iPad 2.
Analysts were more than just conservative with their early estimates on the sales of the first generation iPad, and many predicted that the device would only move a few million units. Apple sold 14 million.
The new iPad is thinner and lighter and it boasts two cameras. It’s not a substantial upgrade, and if you own an iPad already you might really weigh whether it’s worth buying a new one. But if the Piper Jaffray figures hold true, it seems as though Apple has had a far bigger success on its hands by convincing new consumers to stand in line this weekend to buy an iPad 2.