450,000 iPads sold but how many returned?

450,000 iPads sold but how many returned?

Summary: iPads are being returned as people try to figure out what problem the device is trying to solve.

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Yesterday Apple treated the world to what's coming in iPhone OS 4.0. So far the reviews are mixed, but what was more interesting was how many iPads are flying off the shelves.

On Monday Apple announced that it had sold 300,000 iPads by end of day Saturday, and now we're hearing that more than 450,000 have been sold. What's most interesting about that stat, though, is that I heard from a source that there's a tremendous amount of buyer's remorse with the iPad, and people are coming in droves to return them.

It's not surprising for me to hear that people are returning them. I've said in the past that I'm still undecided about my own purchase, and if I wasn't a publisher / developer of Apps myself, I probably would be returning it, too. The main reason at this stage being that I'm just not finding where it totally belongs in my collection. I have an iPhone and a laptop, and between the two of them, most of my computing needs are met. The iPad sitting in between isn't really solving a problem for me.

At any rate, we'll never know for sure how many iPads end up being returned, nor how many Apple products usually get returned days after becoming available. One thing is for certain, though, there's still no killer app, and I'm not the only one who remains confused as to what problem the iPad is trying to solve for the consumer and professional.

UPDATE: I've been asked to reveal my source. While I can't do that I can tell you that I confirmed this with multiple sources, including workers at Apple Stores, before writing it. In addition, I was told that users are exchanging iPads because of dead pixels. Again, I have no idea of the numbers but my sources tell me that it has been a lot more than they usually see after a product starts selling.

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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158 comments
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  • LMAO

    I guess the marketing just couldn't overcome the
    hurdle of the product just not being useful in
    this case. It just doesn't make sense to buy one
    and that goes for any slate really. Who ever is
    smart enough to make a smaller slate thats also
    a phone will win. Its much easier to justify
    that type of purchase. Without that phone
    function its always going to be seen as an extra
    device. I think Dell is on the right track with
    the Dell Mini 5 but I'm almost certain AT&T will
    ruin the experience with their gutting of
    Android to appease Apple.
    storm14k
    • Best to wait before guffawing

      Hmmm... reminds me of those stories about the high return rate on Linux netbooks. Turned out be based on rather little evidence from one manufacturer and contrary to the experience of other manufacturers. Same type of story on several other occasions turned out to have a basis about as firm as warm jello.

      As for the size? Any smaller reduces the usability as an ebook reader while any bigger than most smartphones makes for a horribly clumsy device to carry in a pocket or hold to your ear. I'm not giving up the Kindle in the next few weeks but definitely looking at the iPad for the next generation.
      DNSB
      • The irony in your post being...

        ...iPad only *has* one manufacturer! :)
        wolf_z
        • LMAO.....AGAIN

          Yes it only has one manufacturer and its
          probably being returned to them.

          I don't quite think eReaders are going to float
          the size and costs of these slates without a
          phone. And also the larger phones would not be
          held to your ear. They would be packaged with
          bluetooth earpieces. The combination of an all
          in one device with a phone outweights the
          eReader. And certainly comfort can't be compared
          when were talking about trying to type on
          something you have to lay down flat and look
          down at. It would be easier to have something
          that can still be held in your hand.
          storm14k
          • ...

            I am yet see Dell Mini as a phone. I don't think a 5"+ device would be hard to pocket. I have a Raon Everun, which is little bigger than 5", and it has 3G and is a tablet, but I dont want to pocket it eventhough it fits into some of my pants. I would carry it in a folder. The same would be true with Dell Mini, I am guessing. But if it is not held in a pant pocket or around waist belt, then that wouldn't be much useful as a phone, IMHO.
            --Ram--
            Ram U
          • Odd...

            I can't seem to find any statements from Apple about return rates on the iPad. I checked with a Best Buy contact south of the border and his statement was to the effect that their return rates on iPads were lower than normal for electronic devices. But what does Alan know? He just works there.

            What I was pointing out was the hysterical reaction to the Andy Tung's of MSI comments that the return rates on Linux netbooks was 4 times that of Windows netbooks -- oddly he seemed to be speaking about return rates for all manufacturers. Dell, Asus, etc. seemed pretty unanimous in their comments that Tung was incorrect and that their return rates on Linux notebooks were not noticeably different from their return rates on Windows netbooks.

            Of course, in the same interview, he commented on Lenovo and Samsung's netbook by stating that we might be surprised who actually manufactures them.

            As for the size? I can slip my current smart phone into a pocket or use a belt holster. The XYL fits hers into her purse. Try doing that with an iPad sized phone.

            Another consideration for me is that I often use the caller ID display to decide if I want to answer a call -- by the time the Bluetooth headset has read the number out, I have a second to decide before the call gets shunted to voice mail.
            DNSB
      • A friend of mine bought an iPad.

        He complains that it doesn't work as well as his Kindle, and cost a lot more, but hay, its an Apple.

        I don't understand that mental process. Why would anyone spend money to buy the second best for more money? Is status that important?
        mjolnar@...
        • And here I am believing your story..... Oh no I'm not.

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
      • Actually

        People did return linux netbooks at high rates because most people neve used linux and had no idea what to do with it. Why do you rhink all netbooks now run windows"
        Leparsdon
        • Return rates

          Why would Dell and Asus both respond to that claim by stating their return rates on Linux and Windows netbooks were similar?

          Or are we going to go into those tired old claims about driver issues when the drivers were supplied as part of the install? Inability to run your favourite programs when the majority of netbook owners seem to want to do email and web browsing, not to be able to run Quark, InDesign or whatever CAD program they wanted.
          DNSB
    • Don't worry too much. Apple has that product in it's view.

      A 6" screen product with iPhone attached will be released in 8 months. Too bad they had to use the iPad as a prototype but the 6" iPhone will sell BILLIONS!
      The Danger is Microsoft
      • RE: 450,000 iPads sold but how many returned?

        @The Danger is Microsoft 9 months and counting. XD
        HektikLyfe
  • Nothing wrong with the form factor

    I can think of plenty of applications for the form factor, many of which have been discussed and touted by Apple. What I do not understand is the need for a whole new set of applications to suit Apple's choice of operating system rather than using (and tweaking as necessary) an operating system that suits already existing applications which the customer is already familiar with and which would work just fine out of the box on the form factor.
    Michael Kelly
    • Very true

      Yes, being able to run all the applications that people are used to for day-to-day computing plus being a good e-reader, music, movie and even phone (with bluetooth headphone and mike) will make a tablet-style device irresistible.

      Working, communicating, access to entertainment and being part of the education system will be the future for the tablet form factor. Things like ease of accessibility, keeping up to date, communicating, getting help, collaborating ... the list goes on ... will be the things users will want for something bigger than the iPhone or smartphone. At least, these will be what I'm looking for.

      These can be done with a netbook and the tablet will be just another form with a different OS that is easier with a touch screen.
      orionds
    • Out of curiosity...

      Which operating system are you thinking Apple should have used? Full Mac OSX? Rather likely to have required a different processor with higher power needs leadig to much shorter battery life. Some form of Windows? Only from someone who has never used Windows 7 on a tablet -- the iPod Touch beats it very easily for usability so I suspect the iPad will as well. iPhone/iPod Touch OS? Some form of Linux?

      As for the applications, it appears the iPad will run the vast majority of iPhone/iPod Touch apps which gives you a pretty good selection to choose from. Plus anyone wanting to bet the iPad will not be jailbroken very shortly? If it hasn't already been done...
      DNSB
      • It has been jailbroken

        http://www.macnn.com/articles/10/04/04/early.hack.gets.root.on.ipad/
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
  • RE: 450,000 iPads sold but how many returned?

    The problem is Apples bottom line.
    What_the
  • ROTFLMAO!!!!! :D :D :D

    Oh...and don't forget...if you are having trouble getting a Wi-Fi signal on your iPud...do what Apple's fine tech support folks suggested...

    "Move closer to the Wi-Fi router or hotspot."

    Nice.

    Also, now all the Apple Lemmings who bought iPhraud 1, 2, 3G, 3GS, have to shell out MORE money for v4 to get multi-tasking...which should have been there all along.

    And DO enjoy all those pop-up ads in your apps kids.

    Your all mighty savior Steve the Magical has just sold you ALL down the river with "iAd".

    IT_Guy_z
    • Apple has already stated iPad owners get OS 4.0 for free..

      the problem with WiFi is actually caused by
      having two WiFi or dual mode router with the
      same ssid for both.. the solution is the make
      the two ssid different..

      there are no pop up adds.. they are banners
      that you can click on or ignore..

      any more FUD you want me to blow out of the
      water.. nice you guys have just resorted to
      lying i order to criticize Apple.. don't you
      have anything better to do? pathetic.. get a
      life!
      doctorSpoc
      • Not a real solution

        "having two WiFi or dual mode router with the
        same ssid for both.. the solution is the make
        the two ssid different"

        Your suggestion is a work-arround, not a solution. Most WiFi Devices handle this just fine.
        djmik