Half a million iPad 2s sold over the weekend, says analyst

Financial analyst Piper Jaffray says that most iPad 2 buyers are new users – a whacking 70 percent, in fact.

However, it says, some 65 percent have an iPhone already, so aren’t entirely new to the world of joy that is Apple.

Piper Jaffray says it believes that between 400,000 and 500,000 of the devices have been sold already – more, even than the 300,000 original iPads that were shifted over the launch weekend.

And it confirmed reports that many outlets sold out almost immediately – bad news for people who failed to snap one up online. Apple’s own stores, Target and Best Buy have all run out of stock, an d online buyers are being warned they’ll need to wait for up to a month.

According to Forrester, competing tablets are doomed to failure, and it forecasts that Apple will have at least an 80 percent share of the US tablet market this year. The main reason is down to customer service, it says.

“Compare the experience of walking into an Apple Store, where the iPad is front and center, to walking into a Verizon store where the Samsung Galaxy Tab is collecting dust at the back of the store and the sales reps don’t quite know what to make of it,” says Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps.

“Or walking into a Best Buy store, whose shelves will soon be lined with similar-looking tablets with similar functionality.”

Piper Jaffray also says that buyers of the iPad 2 have slightly different plans for the device than those that bought the original. Only six percent say they plan to use it for reading, for example, compared with 19 percent for the original.

Apps and games are more popular, with 17 percent of buyers saying they plan to use them, compared with nine percent for the earlier version.