iPad officially a hit

Apple can't say it. Competitors won't admit it. But I will: the iPad is a category-creating monster hit. Personal computing will never be the same.

Apple can't say it. Competitors won't admit it. But I will: the iPad is a category-creating monster hit. Personal computing will never be the same.

Apple sold 3.27 million iPads in their first shipping quarter - in just 10 countries. They can't keep up with demand at an average sales price - $640 - that is double that of netbooks.

The $2.17 billion iPads brought in helped make this Apple's biggest quarter ever: $15.7 billion in revenue; generating over $4 billion in cash.

Cannibal computer? The 3.27M iPads sold almost matched the 3.47M Macs sold - a product that has been out for 25 years. At this rate the iPad will easily do 24 million units in 4 quarters - if they can build them.

Since Mac sales were up 33% year-over-year, fears that the iPad would cannibalize Macs were unfounded. It is a bigger worry for Wintel because they have 90% of the market.

The Mac needn't worry. Like the iPod and iPhone before it, the iPad will introduce millions to Apple products and services and most will like what they find. Mac sales will surely follow.

Not just for consumers While consumers are the mass market, the iPad enterprise play is the biggest threat to Microsoft. As I said in February:

The iPad has the form factor and battery life that make it attractive for all sorts of walking around business apps in warehouses, hospitals, construction sites, shop floors and stores.

Sure enough, Apple reports that 50% of the F100 are testing or deploying the ipad. Those tests don't begin unless someone is betting they'll succeed.

Dark horse The cloud on the iPad's horizon is Android. $130 iPad lookalikes are already on the market, powered by Android. They aren't as good, but if they are "good enough" they'll become very popular too.

The loser in an iPad/Android tablet fight is, of course, Microsoft. They won't have price and they won't have the iPhone OS, so where do they fit in mobile computing?

Nowhere.

The Storage Bits take I scoffed at Apple's description of the iPad as "magical" but over 3 million people didn't. And I haven't bought one, but I've been thinking about it.

But the market has spoken: the iPad is a hit. And it is a hit because it opens up a new way of interacting with information and entertainment: casual, simple and lightweight.

The market for the casual computing is huge. While iPod unit sales were down, the shift to the iPod Touch drove revenues up. People like little computers they can carry around and run with their fingers.

The iPad, like the iPhone before it, fits the bill.

Comments welcome, of course. BTW, Apple's huge new data center in North Carolina will be online by the end of the year. Expect more announcements from Cupertino.

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