An eager iPad early adopter bought two iPads 30 minutes apart and noticed that the order number for the second one was 10000 higher than the first, prompting him to wonder if Apple really sold twenty thousand gizmos every hour this morning. As the mania surrounding Preorder Day subsides, a number of updates - including details about the 3G data plan - have emerged throughout the day.
Apple announced this morning
that businesses and individuals could pre-order no more than two iPads, which will be delivered for free on April 3, if Saturday delivery is available in their area. Others can reserve their iPads for in-store pickup
if they want to be first on their block, but Apple will only ship enough iPads to each store to cover the number that are reserved for pickup at that store, so don't think you can just walk in and buy one on the 3rd. Rumors of supply problems with the iPad have been going around over the past few weeks, and even though both manufacturers and Apple themselves have denied the claim, the 2-per-person limit and the restriction of the launch to the US only raise questions.
Phanfare CEO Andrew Ehrlichson bought as many iPads as he - or anyone else in the US - could: two. As he wrote on his blog
this morning, he looked at the difference between the two order numbers and speculated that Apple was selling ten thousand every thirty minutes: or as he notes "$10MM (ten million US dollars)/hour." As Ehrlichson noted, there's no way of knowing if all the orders were for iPads, or even if the order numbers are sequential, but as he observed "at 830am in the morning on the east coast, my guess is that most of the orders were for iPads."
Apple's updated specs page for the iPad
revealed a few previously-unknown details, such as the fact that the Mute button right above the volume controls on the device's side has somewhat surprisingly been changed to a Rotation Lock button. Engaging the switch will prevent the device's orientation from changing when the motion sensor detects that the iPad has shifted from vertical to horizontal. This is presumably to help make it easier to read, browse and game on the move, or when you're lying down. Hopefully we'll get one of these for iPhones as well.
The website also noted that iPad Wi-Fi + 3G owners who use the 250MB plan will be able to upgrade to the $29 unlimited plan whenever they want, or they can add an additional 250MB for $14.99 on the fly. The iPad will have a Cellular Data section within Settings that will show your real-time data usage. pressing a button on this screen will allow you to add data to your plan or upgrade to unlimited. Users of the 250MB plan will receive push notifications when they get close to their limit: one at 20 percent, 10 percent, and one when you're out.
There is no way of knowing if Apple's limits on the number of available iPads is related to supply constraints, or if it's just a way to increase demand by making them harder to get. It seems hard to believe that Apple would do anything other than sell as many devices as they can as quickly as they can, but they didn't get $40 billion in cash
by being dumb businesspeople.