After the iPad officially opened to pre-order on Friday, CNN took a sample of iPad and other Apple product purchasers to try to get a glimpse at how exactly the fabled tablet is doing in sales. The conclusion? Damn well--but that's not the whole story.
Based on a sampling, CNN estimates the total product sales at Apple's online store to be about 125,000 on Friday. Once you subtract the average sales of 16,500 and multiply by the average number of iPads bought (1.1), you come up with just shy of 120,000 iPads sold. It's an estimate, sure, but a conservative one, and that number is reasonable.
Interestingly, we also find out that that 1.1 order per person is lower than expected; Apple capped the number of iPads per person at 2, but it seems like they needn't have bothered. Aside from that, we find that all three versions by capacity (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB) sold almost exactly equally, but about 70% opted for the Wi-Fi-only model, compared to 30% for the 3G model. That latter stat makes a bit more sense when we take launch dates into consideration: the 3G model won't be out for a few weeks after the Wi-Fi-only model, and those pre-ordering want to get their hands on an iPad as soon as possible.
We don't have pre-order numbers for the original 2G iPhone, which would really be the only fair comparison (the 3GS pre-orders were far higher, but that was the third generation of the hardware; the iPad is only the first of its kind). Still, for the first day of pre-ordering (not even real purchasing--these people have never touched an iPad in real life!), those are big numbers.