Bearish news for the compeition
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster and his team hit the streets over the weekend to look at Apple Store queues and interview the people in them. They also tried to buy an iPad 2 on Sunday, and failed.
According to the initial, anecdotal study, reported on by Fortune, stocks of the iPad 2 sold out completely on the first day it was on sale. Ringing around various retailers on Sunday, Munster and co were unable to find a single iPad 2 in stock. Furthermore, the iPad 2 web page says it will take 3-4 weeks to ship one.
These observations have led Munster to estimate that up to half a million iPad 2s will have been sold in the first weekend, compared to 300,000 of the original iPad.
There was also a small survey (236 people intending to buy) taken, from which which Piper Jaffray extrapolated a bunch of other findings, summarised in the table below. The key figure is that 70 percent of those intending to buy an iPad didn't already have one. This means the total market for tablets is growing rapidly, and Apple is doing a good job of cornering it.
I'm reading a biography of Muhammad Ali, which focuses on his first title fight against Sonny Liston. Nobody gave Clay, as he was then called, a chance having seen Liston batter the previous champion - Floyd Patterson - in one round, twice.
Apple's competitors in the tablet market must be feeling a bit like Clay did back in 1964 - intimidated by his opponent's ability to deliver a knock-out punch. In the end Clay was just too quick for Liston, and the latter even resorted to trying to blind his opponent before quitting on his stool at the end of the sixth round.
These preliminary sales figures confirm what everyone already knew: the tablet market is big, too big not to compete in. So Samsung, Motorola, etc will keep trying, and this is only the start of round two. It will be fascinating to see what the rest of the industry comes up with to change the course of this fight, but Apple is already well ahead on points, and can't be relied on to quit. Then again, nobody gave Clay a chance of surviving, let alone winning.