Neither recession nor gadget overload shall slow the mania surrounding the introduction of Apple's iPad mobile computer.
On Friday, the first day that buyers could pre-order the device (it arrives in stores next month), Apple racked up an estimated 91,000 sales in just the first six hours of availability, putting temporarily to rest the Internet's persistent "iPad fail" meme. Analysts predict the first-year sales could reach 5 million.
Still, despite the avalanche of pre-release hype (the media-tracking firm O'Leary Analytics found 25,000 news mentions of the then-unnamed product in January alone), Friday's pre-order mania was tempered by considerable ambivalence among the geeked-out on discussion boards and on Twitter.
"Early adopters," scoffed a poster on Appleinsider.com about the early buyers.
"I was all set to buy one this morning, but I guess cold feet set in overnight," read a post on TUAW.com (The Unofficial Apple Weblog). "I've decided to wait a while, maybe for the 2nd generation. Now I just have to see if I can hold out for the next gen iPhone. . . . Sometimes I think I should be going to gadgeholics anonymous meetings."
A Twitter poster named Mash187 offered: "Avoiding the rush to pre-order an iPad today. Going to wait until the [basic] version is in the wild to see how people really like it."
Engadget.com asked its tech-savvy readers whether they planned to buy an iPad, which starts at $499. The result: Nearly 19 percent of 60,000 respondents said yes; 65 percent were negative; and 16 percent clicked "What's an iPad?"
Enough with the iPad hype? We probably haven't seen anything yet. The product arrives in Apple stores April 3. Which can only mean one thing: TV reporters doing stand-ups in front of long lines of buyers camped out in front of the stores -- including the untold numbers who'll be there just to appear on TV news reports about people camped out in front of Apple stores.