Apple sells 2 million iPads, but should anyone get excited?

Apple is celebrating Memorial Day with a little memorial to iPad: Announcement of 2 million units sold in about 60 days. Typically, in Apple parlance, sold means shipped. However, given short supplies, the stated number is probably closer to sold, depending on how much Apple stocked the international channel for the weekend launch.

Assuming an average selling price of just $500 -- and I expect it's more likely $600 or $650 -- iPad has generated at least an additional $1 billion in revenue for the company. For the full quarter just passed, Apple shipped 1.15 million desktop Macs, so already iPad has nearly doubled sales there. Desktop Mac sales generated $1.5 billion in revenue. Within weeks, if not already, iPad revenues this quarter will exceed desktop Mac for calendar Q1. Impressive.

Today at Business Insider, Jay Yarow put context relevant to Apple investors: "In a note from April 14, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty estimated 'every 1 million incremental iPad units and related accessories equates to $0.20-$0.25 EPS.' So Apple could be adding $0.75 EPS for the quarter."

The question everyone should ask: Will iPad outsell the Mac during its first quarter of sales? Apple has nearly 30 days left in the quarter. The only impediment iPad seems to have is supply. More people want to buy iPad than Apple can ship. With the international sales channel open, 3 million units are absolutely possible during the quarter.

Lines were surprisingly longer in Europe than the United States for iPad, or so I gauge from the overseas' reports. That doesn't surprise me. According to both Gartner and IDC, netbook sales have been stronger in Europe than any other region, mainly because of carrier subsidies. Netbooks are available subsidized with carrier commitments. In looking over the UK 3G iPad plans, I see that the four major carriers offer more flexible plans than for netbooks, many without commitment and some plans available on single-day basis. The scenario is different than the United States, where most netbooks are sold for higher prices, unsubsidized by carriers. If iPad is going to suck away netbook sales anywhere, it will be Europe.

Given Apple's sales milestone, it seems appropriate to look back at some of my past iPad stories. So here are 20 for your Memorial Day reading pleasure:

So, what do you think? Does it matter that Apple sold 2 million iPads in about 60 days? Is there an iPad in your future? Please respond in comments.

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