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Half a Million iPad Fans Can't Be Wrong?

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Domestic demand for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad is so strong that the company is delaying its release abroad. It will begin taking international pre-orders -- and announce pricing details -- next month.

That's what Apple claims, anyway. Do you believe it?

We have a right to be jaded when companies blame handheld gadgetry delays on overwhelming demand.'s (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) initial Kindle supply sold out in a matter of hours three years ago. Barnes & Noble's (NYSE: BKS  ) Nook missed its estimated shipping date last year.

Some may have interpreted the outages as bullish indicators, but they really boiled down to breakdowns in their respective companies' supply chains.

That said, I completely believe Apple this time, for one simple reason. Amazon and Barnes & Noble never divulged any actual sales metrics. It took Amazon a couple of years to even address the volume of Kindles out in the wild, and even then, it only vaguely cited "millions" of cumulative owners.

Apple, on the other hand, is shouting its iPad sales figures from the Cupertino rooftops. The company delivered more than 500,000 units in its first week on the market -- and that's before the 3G model, for which some of us true gadget geeks are waiting, begins shipping by month's end.

Even better for Apple, all these iPads aren't winding up as shiny paperweights. Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) free ABC viewer for the iPad has been downloaded 205,000 times this month, with at least part of 650,000 episodes being viewed.

The tablet game remains in its infancy. Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) Slate should be a formidable contender when it arrives; its Windows-based underpinnings may make it more accessible to PC users. A Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android-flavored tablet is also reportedly in the works, and the search company's surprising success in the smartphone space bodes well for its chances with larger portable gadgetry.

Hopefully, Apple sees the competitors coming, and doesn't get cocky. This is clearly its war to lose, but the battlefield is about to get crowded.

Are you one of the 500,000 iPad owners already? Will you be buying one in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple,, and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.   

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is waiting for his iPad, and he has been a Kindle owner since 2008. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He owns shares of Disney, but holds no financial position in any other company mentioned in this story. The Fool's disclosure policy awaits the invention of smudge-proof touchscreens.

Read/Post Comments (16) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 3:32 PM, 101010103 wrote:

    Ive got a droid phone and I have a laptop, so I dont need one. I think once the hype is over the ipad will be dead

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 4:28 PM, Jmers wrote:

    This would be a great toy if I were a 5yo, as an adult, I see little use for it.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 5:12 PM, daniinLA wrote:

    I'll wait for the beta version but given how much I adore my iPhone (changed my life!), you can bet that I'll eventually succumb to apple's hip new gadget. Most of my friends (and we're all adults, 40s and up BTW) want one too.

    Basically replaces the need for a laptop if you're only surfing and emailing. Plus, who doesn't love Apple's high-style minimalist packaging?!

    A product that appeals to techies and design junkies alike (so I'm sold on two counts)

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 5:13 PM, hportofino19 wrote:

    A toy for 5yr old? Lol. Dude, dump that bulky laptop and welcome to the next generation of portable computing. I'm selling my old Dell laptop's useless now. Buy now and buy apple stock 300 all the way.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 5:37 PM, crabbydave wrote:

    not interested. I have no doubt Apple will make millions from it and I may invest in the company, but an over priced underpowered toy does not interest me. Unless I decide to write apps for it. But I need a real computer to do that.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 5:51 PM, ohiosooner wrote:

    I will be in line when the 3G Ipad comes out.......

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 7:28 PM, starpark88 wrote:

    For half the price I have a netbook with 9 hrs battery life (7 hrs video), better performance, an ability to play better/more games, and use better/more programs (excel,ppt, etc.). I played with an IPad in the store the other day and feel sorry for anyone who bought one. But I feel the same way towards people who buy Macs instead of installing the Mac OS on a non mac PC for half the price, and for cigarette addicts. I won't buy one but to all that do, have fun wasting money when you could get something better for half the price.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 8:37 PM, plange01 wrote:

    fools throwing away their money does not make them fans...already ebay fills with ipads for resale...

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 9:19 PM, beetlebug62 wrote:

    LOL, the usual mix of love and hate responses.

    I'll just look at one comment from starpark: So, your $250 netbook, which you don't state which brand, gets 7hrs video, still less than the iPad's 10+ hrs of real battery life. Is that 7hrs a SPEC, or is the real thing? How big is your battery on that thing, is it a 6-cell? And, it weighs how much? How well does it play HD video? Does it stutter? Did you buy Excel and Powerpoint for it, or are you just saying in theory? How fast is using Excel and Powerpoint on it? You do know that Numbers and Keynote only cost $9.99 each on the iPad, so ADD that to your price comparison, why don't you?

    I feel sorry for anyone who feels the need to make fake comparisons. His netbook didn't cost half, cause he had to get the larger battery and he had to get Excel and Powerpoint. You know it's TCO, total cost of ownership, not just the entry price that counts.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 9:25 PM, daveshouston wrote:

    The iPad is a game changer that will outsell the iPhone.

    I happened to be in an Apple Retail store today. I asked one of the Genius Bar guys how the iPad was selling. He said they're sold out almost all the time. They receive shipments daily but can't keep up with the demand.

    Sales will really heat up when they have the 3G version. I think they'll have a waiting list for a year or two.

    I'm sure the PC companies like Dell, Microsoft, HP, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc. are tearing down the iPad with the aim of copying it. That's what they do. That's all they do. Fail.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 9:44 PM, foolindeed1 wrote:

    iPad is a nice tablet, no questions about it. I have iPhone and I like it, but I'm not getting iPad. Most of all, it makes me laugh when so-called analysts say that iPad will kill Kindle of Nook eBook readers. I coils not see anything on iPad scpeen outside on a sunny day and inside when light was reflected on the screen - it's screen cannot even come close in readability to the real eReaders' e-Ink screens. Kindle and Nook have 10 days to 2 weeks of battery life and Nook's battery is user replacable. No book reader would trade either Kindle or Nook or Sny one for iPad.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 10:39 PM, webjawns wrote:

    The iPad is not as big a game changer as the hype will have you believe. As far as other companies "copying" the iPad, that is just incorrect. This idea is nothing new. The iPad is nothing more than a tablet PC minus the physical keyboard (plus many *restrictive* features), and hardware that leaves you wanting more.

    From recent reports, we've learned that the iPad has 256 MB of RAM and a 1 GHz processor, which is less than Google's newest phone, the Nexus One. It can't make phone calls, has no multitasking, no USB port, and no camera. It's a pretty much a larger iPhone/iPod touch, which brings nothing new or additional to the table.

    This is HYPE... plain and simple. Remember netbooks? Notice how most companies are cutting production now? Same thing here! Hype.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2010, at 5:04 AM, bornbully wrote:

    My iPad usage today:

    Checked emails and surfed the web during breakfast.

    Caught an episode of modern family on the abc app.

    Caught up on a book iM reading on the kindle app.

    Painted a landscape in the sketchbook pro app with my finger.

    Read a childrens book to my nephew and played air hockey with him.

    My girlfriend stole it for an hour to play sudoku.

    The battery was around 80% by evening and I left the thing in the living room as I did other things throughout my day. I never did any of this on my laptop. What don't you naysayers get? this is changing the way consumers interact with computers. Throw your specs out the window. Buy and hold: AAPL

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2010, at 3:03 PM, XMFBogey wrote:

    My wife and I both have iPhones and I bought her an iPad for her birthday. I took it back last night unopened because she didn't think she would use it enough to justify the cost.

    She said to me "once the 3G version comes out, I'd probably like it then" to which I replied - "I don't want to pay another $400 a year for a data plan! That's why I got you the wifi one :)"

    AT&T has to come up with some sort of bundled pricing scheme to make this attractive.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2010, at 5:56 PM, kirkscoin wrote:

    Our family (wife/husband and two boys 14, 9) own a couple of IPhones, IPods and an Itouch. We talked about the IPad and made an exploratory visit to the local store to check it out. There were 20 IPads displayed and a wait of about 10 minutes as they were all in use. After our turn of FINALLY being able to use one we decided that one was going home with us if available, and there was! I went for the 16gig as I didn't want another bill and most of the time we would be using it at home. What we noticed immediately were the graphics and how amazing they looked on it. I am 43 with eyes getting older so it is nice to see the newspaper in a bigger font and to see the entire page.

    The boys love it for the games. I don't mind either paying $0.99 for a game they will play or even $10 compared to the XBox.

    The laptop hasn't been turned on since the IPad came home. I have noticed that it is fast and we haven't had any problems with the Wifi. I can see us buying another one.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2010, at 7:33 PM, Tembrock wrote:

    Well, you can hate it or not, but I must say I believe it's going to be a massive success. Here's why: Content, content and more content and the digestion of that content in a portable, beautiful "all screen" format. My personal reasons to want/use one over other devices are:

    - The best touchscreen tech on the market (I've used Droids, HTC, Palm Pre and all the others and to-date have not yet found a single one better than iPhone/iPod Touch and now iPad). At least available to the average consumer.

    - eReader: Content. Not only can I read iBooks from Apple but I can easily view my Kindle/Barne's & Noble/Stanza content via there free apps. The best of all worlds plus the iBook reading experience is more "book" like (real page #s & bigger screen for landscape reading)

    - Apps: Especially Fimmaking and other creative apps that will be extremely cool with a touchscreen (Storyboarding, Color Correcting, script reading, showing dailies, rough cuts, etc). The possibilities with apps are endless.

    - It's fast and will likely get faster (despite comments, it's WAY faster than any android phone I've used both in terms of browsing and touchscreen responsiveness)

    - Easy to use. Call them "dumbed down" for the masses but they are very user friendly. Can't underestimate that. If you have an iPhone/iPod Touch you'll transition seamlessly.

    You really have to handle one. I agree with many of people's gripes but look at the iPhone's success. People complained about that too and most of those complaints were improved upon by software updates.

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