We gave you shipment numbers for the iPad a couple of days ago. Putting those numbers in perspective can be a fun exercise. For example, eWeek quotes an analyst report that says Apple sold more iPads in the quarter after its introduction than Amazon did Kindles in nearly three years:
"Last night, Apple stated it has shipped 3.27 [million] iPads since the April product launch, surpassing our estimate for an installed base of [around 3 million] Amazon Kindles to date despite supply constraints," Marianne Wolk, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, wrote in a co-authored research note to investors. "However, Kindle device sales have also accelerated recently, with the growth rate of Kindle units up 3x since the June 21 price reduction from $259 to $189."
Wolk predicts iPad sales could reach 12-15 million this year, at which point the device should "dwarf the installed base of Amazon's dedicated Kindle eReader." That could cut into Amazon's slice of e-book sales, too, since Apple has that whole iBooks thing going. (Of course, Amazon has also released a Kindle reader app for the iPad.)
The iPad zooming past the Kindle so quickly seems like a testament to Apple's marketing chops. Sure, not everyone wants an e-reader, but at least the Kindle has a definite purpose—not to mention a lower price tag, prodigious battery life, and always-on access to Amazon's e-book store through a cellular connection. The iPad costs more and has a less distinct function, with Apple touting it as a sort of general media consumption device. Consumers seem to be eating it up, though.