Apple: One millionth iPad sold

Four weeks was all it took for Apple to sell one million iPads.

The company announced that it hit the milestone on April 30, the same day that the iPad’s 3G-enabled model went on sale in the United States. In the 28-day span since the Wi-Fi-only iPad launched on April 3, users downloaded more than 12 million apps and 1.5 million e-books.

Apple notes that the original iPhone, in comparison, took 74 days to reach the million-sale mark. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison given that they’re different products, and the iPad has a head start among iPhone owners who want to use their existing apps on a big screen. But it does show that people have taken to the idea of large-screen multi-touch device quite rapidly.

I’m more interested to know the breakdown of sales for Wi-Fi models compared to 3G. According to a guess by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Apple sold 300,000 3G iPads in its debut weekend. That’s the same number of Wi-Fi iPads that Apple sold on day one alone. So at least initially, sales are skewing in Wi-Fi-only’s favor, but not by much. I’ve been recommending the Wi-Fi version for people who don’t spend a lot of time on the road, and personally I haven’t missed the lack of 3G connectivity at all.

I think iPad sales will continue to ramp up as more people come in contact with the device. It’s not the kind of product whose purpose is immediately clear through advertisements or reviews, but the usefulness as a casual reading, gaming and multimedia device becomes apparent once you’re actually doing those things. Also, Apple enjoys being the only game in town for now. Other tablets are on the way, but they’ll need to capture the fun and convenience of the iPad to compete.