iPad orders fall after Friday's rush, claims blogger

Estimates that 150,000 units were pre-ordered online through Sunday

Orders for Apple's iPad fell off sharply over the weekend after a big opening day Friday, an investment blogger claimed today.

According to a blogger dubbed "Deagol" -- who was identified by Fortune as Daniel Tello -- pre-orders for the iPad slowed to approximately 1,000 per hour on Saturday and Sunday from the 25,000-per-hour pace during the first two hours of Friday, when Apple began taking orders online.

Tello tracked 120 order numbers submitted by volunteers at Investor Village's AAPL Sanity message board to come up with his estimates. By calculating the difference between normal sales traffic on Apple's online store and the sequential order numbers provided by volunteers, Tello pegged total iPad sales at more than 150,000 units 60 hours after ordering began, or to approximately 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

His estimate included only those iPads that were pre-ordered through Apple's online store. As Tello and commenters on his blog noted, the estimates do not include iPads reserved by customers for in-store pick-up April 3, or any large-volume orders that may have been directly placed with Apple's sales force by businesses.

Although Tello did not reply to a request by Computerworld for an interview, he was quoted extensively by Fortune. "With three weeks and two weekends left before they ship, I wouldn't expect much more than half a million in pre-orders and reservations," Tello told the publication. "My best guess, although very tentative given the early stage and few data we have so far, would be that they hit the 1 million unit milestone by the second week after it ships."

If Tello's estimate is accurate, it would mean Apple was well on its way toward meeting Wall Street analysts' goals for iPad sales during 2010. Brian Marshall of BroadPoint AmTech, for example, has put a conservative estimate in his earnings model of just 2.2 million iPads sold in the calendar year, but believes that Apple will actually sell about 7 million.

Tello's analysis of the order data also indicated that WiFi-only models -- the only ones available April 3 -- outnumbered the more expensive WiFi+3G units by more than 2:1. Sales of the three flash drive configurations -- 16GB, 32GB and 64GB -- were about equal, he told Fortune, with a slight edge to the highest-priced 64GB iPads.

Apple intends to ship pre-ordered iPads so that they arrive on April 3, which is a Saturday; if Saturday delivery is not available in the customer's area, the iPad will reach the doorstep on April 5.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon