iPad pre-orders off to rousing start with over 120,000 orders processed over the weekend

Well, it seems that Apple is poised to have another hit on its hands. Pre-orders for the iPad opened up last week and early reports suggest that Apple processed as many as 120,000 orders, with 51,000 units alone in the first two hours.

Well, it seems that Apple is poised to have another hit on its hands. Pre-orders for the iPad opened up last week and early reports suggest that Apple processed as many as 120,000 orders, with 51,000 units alone in the first two hours. Naturally, this rate dropped off to about 1,000 an hour over the course of the day once the initial rush tempered off.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune has been following iPad pre-order sales closely, and citing blogger Daniel Tello - an amateur analyst with an impressively accurate track record - he writes that "the real demand" for the iPad will most likely come in around 30,000 units per day once the device actually goes on sale. In the meantime, Tello believes that iPad pre-orders will top out at 500,000 units before April 3rd.

"My best guess," Tello said to Fortune, "although very tentative given the early stage and few data we have so far, would be that they hit the 1 million unit milestone by the second week after it ships." Though Tello did offer a caveat in that his projections are based on only one weekend of data, the surge of pre-orders is certainly an auspicious beginning for Apple's latest and greatest creation.

Tellingly, early reports show that pre-orders of the Wi-Fi enabled iPad are more than double than those of the 3G enabled iPad. This might be because the Wi-Fi model of the iPad ships an entire month before the 3G model and people simply can't wait to get their hands on the device. Or, perhaps, it might signify that prospective iPad customers (many of whom are likely to already be iPhone owners) simply aren't excited to pay for 2 separate data plans for 2 separate Apple products. That said, it'll be interesting to see if this ratio holds up.

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