iPad Sales Hit One Million, but Performance Issues Linger

Dennis Faas's picture

The release of a 3G edition of the iPad is believed by one source to haven taken total sales of Apple's device past the one million sales plateau. But already there are questions about how well AT&T's network coverage is coping with demand.

While it's clear sales were strong, the one million figure claim is something of a professional "guesstimate". It comes from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who based his figure on lines of customers in just two stores over the three day weekend.

He then compared that with equivalent lines for the release of the original WiFi iPad, took into account the different timescales and pre-order schedule, and estimated 300,000 sales of the 3G model.

Sales Figures May be Skewed

It is already believed that Apple sold 500,000 iPad WiFi units in its first week, a figure based on records of the order numbers given to customers, discounting the normal level of Apple sales expected for that period. Munster then added 200,000 as an estimate for the WiFi sales in the meantime, which brings the total to a rather suspiciously-neat one million.

Munster also contacted 50 Apple stores and discovered 49 had sold out of their 3G stock. Of course, that may be due to low stock rather than high demand. (Source: cnn.com)

High-bandwidth Apps Performance Lackluster

It's not all good news for Apple, though. There are already reports that some high-bandwidth applications are performing sketchily on AT&T's 3G network, including problems with high-definition YouTube clips appearing pixilated. That said, it's certainly too early to know whether these problems are widespread enough to be significant.

Several sources are speculating that major site operators may be making their own decisions to limit streaming quality or availability. It appears YouTube may be limiting streaming to the same screen resolution as the iPhone, while some TV networks may have to prevent the streaming of some or even all shows.

Why? Because allowing the relevant data to be carried over cellphone networks may be classed as a form of broadcasting, affecting licensing deals with program makers. (Source: pcmag.com)

It's also fair to note that this weekend may not have been the fairest test of AT&T's coverage. It's certainly possible that the release has meant new users are much more likely to be making heavy use of the device as they try out new features and that this doesn't reflect the normal workload that network operators can expect.

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