updated 09:20 pm EDT, Mon April 9, 2012
May indicate steady post-launch sales
A new study by analytics analysis firm Chitika suggests that the presence of third-generation iPads in internet traffic has doubled since the initial four-day launch window, now showing that the 2012 model is making up around 10 percent of all iPads surfing the net after only three weeks availability. While online tracking metrics are not a direct method for measuring sales, the average rate of online growth can be inferred to be an indicator of popularity.
Apple announced that the new iPad had sold over three million units in the first four days worldwide, and Chitika had noted that this figure correlated into about five percent presence of all iPad traffic, correlating closely with Apple's own total figures of 55 million iPads sold up to that point. Online statistics fluctuate with use, but the device has seen its presence steadily grown following the initial rush, suggesting the company has sold perhaps another three million since then, or just under a million units per week.
Should that growth rate hold steady for the reminder of the quarter, it could translate into 12 million units in the company's fiscal Q2 and 15 million new iPads sold overall by the end of June -- about the same number that was sold during the holiday quarter last year, Apple's first fiscal quarter. That estimate makes the presumption that all iPads sold so far are still in active use, even if a large number of original iPad owners have sold or given their older units to others in order to upgrade. The estimate does not include sales of the iPad 2, which is still available is said to remain a popular choice with budget-conscious buyers.
A growth rate even half that scale would still easily keep the iPad as the dominant tablet computer in the market. Though the iPad only makes up about 60 percent of all tablets shipped, online usage rates indicated that in many areas it is responsible for up to 90 percent of tablet web traffic, showing that Apple's sell-through rates closely match its shipping figures, as opposed to most competitors.
The survey also broke out which US states have had the highest adoption rate for the third-generation iPad, with California leading with 11 percent of iPad owners using the latest model. Apple may have some tricks up its sleeve to keep interest in the iPad high, including rumors that Siri could be added to the latest model once it comes out of beta and speculation on a smaller, perhaps more focused or niche device that could have a smaller screen. There's also an expectation that iOS itself will be updated at some point this year, offering additional features.