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Survey finds 16GB iPad 3G most popular, not viewed as PC replacement

A survey of customers in line to buy a 3G iPad in New York on Friday found that more than half planned to purchase the least expensive 16GB model, starting at $629, and almost none planned to have the iPad replace their traditional computer..

Among about 75 customers polled on Friday, 57 percent said they planned to purchase the 16GB model, according to analyst Maynard Um with UBS. Another 29 percent said they would opt for the $729 32GB model, and 14 percent were going for the top-end, $829 64GB model with 3G.

Um said that every 100,000 iPads sold equates to about a penny in Apple's earnings per share. With Monday's announcement of a million iPads sold, that's more than 10 cents EPS in Apple's June quarter.

The iPad with 3G carries a $130 premium over the Wi-Fi-only model. 3G access is available in the U.S. through carrier AT&T for $15-a-month for 250MB of data, and $30-a-month for unlimited access.

Similar to Um's survey of iPad buyers for the Wi-Fi-only launch on April 3, most — 94 percent — said the iPad will not replace their computers. Most said they will use the device for Web browsing, media content viewing and other personal entertainment. Only a handful said the primary use of the device would be for reading.

"The survey further supports our view that the iPad will not cannibalize Macs & we continue to view the device as a largely incremental growth opportunity for Apple," Um wrote in a note to investors Monday.

Um and UBS had previously forecast sales of 2.1 million for the iPad through the 2010 fiscal year. Um acknowledged Monday that those numbers were too conservative, as Apple announced that the iPad had sold more than a million in its first 28 days in the U.S. alone. The device sold more than 300,000 in just its first day in early April.

"We continue to view initial iPad strength as a source of upside to June (quarter) estimates, but note that magnitude of near-term unit upside will depend somewhat on manufacturing constraints, as Apple also noted that demand continues to outpace supply," Um wrote.

Also Monday, Apple revealed that more than 12 million applications and 1.5 million e-books were downloaded by iPad users. Um said that as the ecosystem continues to grow, it will only accelerate sales of the iPad and other devices, including the iPhone and iPod touch. The key for Apple's iBookstore is to increase its partners and offer more selection, similar to what the company accomplished with iTunes, he said.

The first sign of strong sales came over the weekend, when another analyst polled 50 Apple stores and found that 49 were sold out of the iPad with 3G. Most of those stores were also sold out of the Wi-Fi-only model, Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray reported. He suggested that Apple likely sold 300,000 iPad 3G models over the weekend. Apple did not provide a breakdown of sales for each model in its press release Monday.