With some 240,000 to 500,000 pre-orders rumored for the iPad, it makes sense: Apple has run out of launch-day iPads. Now, before you take to rioting in the streets, don't worry, you'll still get yours. You won't have to wait too long, even, as Apple is reported to have a second wave of iPads going out around April 12th.*
So, where is all this demand coming from? Maybe you're like some of us here at DVICE and you could see the iPad fitting perfectly on your nightstand. Or maybe you're a part of a surprising group that's popped up: business users.
According to a survey conducted by analytical firm Sybase, there could be significant interest in the iPad as a business machine for on-the-go. If that's true, Apple may be able to start taking bites out of the netbook market — a market I for one didn't think the iPad could compete against.
Out of 2,500 survey participants, Sybase found that "the number one reason U.S. consumers would use a device such as the Apple iPad is for working on the go." I wonder if all those people really understand the lack of multitasking on the iPad, or if they'd get frustrated by its omission of Flash.
Business users could certainly account for the iPad's surging pre-order numbers. At $500, it's cheap enough for people with some disposable income to want to give it a try. Developers buying the device and creating a self-serving ecosystem is another cheeky suggestion. There are two other possible, obvious explanations, one nefarious: maybe Apple simply low-balled the numbers to get a sense of the device's real-world demand, or maybe Apple is intentionally stocking the unit at a trickle to inflate demand.
We'd believe the low-balling before the withholding, personally. While devices such as the Wii were famously and perpetually low on stock and high in demand, we can't see Apple holding back when some analysts estimate that the iPad could sell as many as 5 million iPads this year alone.
* Update: Or you could try your luck buying an iPad day one at "most Best Buys."
Update 2: Looks like you don't have to worry about some great iPad drought or anything of the sort. The Chinese manufacturers of the iPad will, according to a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman, ship anywhere between 8 and 10 million iPads this year, up from the previous estimate of 5 million. Early adopters still may have to wait for that second shipping wave on April 12th, but it looks like everyone who wants one will be getting an iPad in a timely fashion.