So did the new iPad sell out or didn't it?

Some reports suggest there are plenty of new iPads still in stores. Does that mean the new product isn't selling so well? Or does it mean Apple made a few more, just in case?

The line forms outside the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco, with just over 100 people queued up. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

If you are a true American, there are only two permissible questions this morning.

One: will Peyton Manning really sign with the '49ers? And two: are there still people banging on the windows of Apple stores begging for a new iPad?

There are those who believe that the excitement over yesterday's iPad launch didn't reach the scale of, say, that surrounding the Bachelor's decision to marry a model last Monday night.

Indeed, Boy Genius Report offered the news that it had called a dozen Apple stores and learned that all had some sort of new iPad inventory in their stock rooms.

At my local Apple store, in Corte Madera, Calif., all reports suggested that excitement was muted, when compared with, say, the launch of the iPhone 4. When you look at the footage I have embedded, the word "frenzy" doesn't push against your lips.

However, because this is Northern California, some blamed the sheer softness of the inhabitants in the face of inclement weather.

Might the sense of a relatively low-key physical response portend a crisis in the fanboy firmament? Might many have succumbed to modern methods and simply ordered online so that they wouldn't miss a second of Peyton's big decision?

Or might Apple have simply thought to ensure that there would, for once, be enough for everyone?

There is no absolute way of knowing today. For the company will only put down its top and hat and pull out a rabbit next week.

If I were a betting man--and I bet the '49ers might not pay the $90 million that Manning is looking for--I'd say Apple will report rather healthy sales figures.

As my evidence, might I offer a lovely ruse performed by Gizmodo on some of the staff in its office yesterday. The sneaky tykes gave their co-workers an iPad 2 and told them it was the new, shiny, retina-displayed version.

There were complaints it wasn't as sharp as people's iPhones. There were groans that it was a little heavy. And there were many confirmations that at least these people would, yes, want to buy this fine new (old) machine.

The lines in certain places might have been shorter than usual yesterday. The product availability may have been unusually strong. But how many of Apple's competitors wouldn't have loved to enjoy the interest already generated by what is, at best, a pleasantly upgraded iPad?

 

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