Demand for the iPad 2 is there. No doubt about it. However, selling through for Apple's iconic "post-PC" mobile device is another matter all together. I would not be surprise if Apple does sell 400,000 to 500,000 units over the weekend including online orders but I doubt it is any higher as some have suggested Apple moving one million.
But it can depends on how you slide it. If Apple does include orders that they cannot fill online over the weekend, we might see a higher number than my own 500K units. And if that's true, it speaks about limited number of iPads on hand for Apple and its retail partners to sell.
Regardless of how Apple wants to deal with the numbers when it finally announces them, I am beginning to see a clear and bigger picture, especially with regards to online orders.
I believe Apple dedicated as much stock as they can for for its retail locations and a few for partners like Best Buy. But obviously, that ran out quickly. Fillers were likely on their way even as folks were waiting in line over the weekend that are likely to arrive for stores this week.
For online orders, the amount was even more scarce which could explain why there were no preorders this year versus last year when buyers could preorder and pick them up in the stores if they like.
A lot of people went online to find solidarity. Some wanted to see where their orders stand relative to others and when they ordered, others went online to vent. And there was a lot of discrepancies in how Apple fill orders. Since I don't know how all this works, I am gonna have to hold any comments on it except to say that I totally feel the pain some buyers are going through.
Personally, my order with two iPads is a textbook case given what I'm ready online. First, the covers shipped. A day later, one of the iPad shipped but the other 3G version, even now, is stuck with "not yet shipped". We have other orders and none of those have shipped except the covers.
My best guess is that Apple is shipping them as they are made, tested, and packaged right away and fill them. This would explain why they have not announced a number for how many iPad 2s they've sold. You cannot say you sold and shipped something when you clearly haven't finished making it.
Also from what I see, most people with 2 iPads in their order are seeing one iPad shipped while the other one sits waiting.
My advice for anyone who want one but isn't willing to wait for the 3-4 weeks wait call their local Apple store or another retail to see if they have any in stock and hope you get lucky.
As for how many Apple will sell, I think Apple won't be announcing a concrete number for a few days just until they can fill all the weekend orders first.