Ah, launch day. In the tech world, that means one thing: Those that do not pre-order new and exciting devices are likely to be left in the cold or, worse, stuck calling retail stores in a frantic attempt to get their hands on a newly released product.
Enter Microsoft's Surface Pro. Early reports are coming in that both the 64GB and 128GB versions of the tablet, which are only available in the US so far, are completely sold out – customers won't be able to pick one up for purchase as of this articles' writing on Microsoft's official online store. However, we don't yet have a figure what that sell-out represents in terms of actual devices shipped to consumers.
Just to give a little perspective, CNet's Edward Moyer reports that initial expectations for Surface RT sales were high – around 1.3 million devices, according to estimates from iSuppli, which seems right in line with the 1.25 million Surface RT tablets that Microsoft first shipped out. However, actual estimated sales of these tablets ended up being estimated at anywhere from 680,000 to 750,000 devices. Additionally, the return rate for Surface RT tablets was "very high."
"If you put the high return rate together with low sell-through [sales out] rate, that's indicative of a problem," said Rhoda Alexander, iSuppli analyst, in an interview with Cnet.
UBS analyst Brent Thrill said he thinks that Surface RT tablet sales number around a cool one million – half that of his previous estimate.
It's expected that the Pro will have a bit more appeal among consumers due to the slightly lesser learning curve required to operate the device versus the various restrictions on apps and capabilities blended into the Surface RT tablet. As to how that might translate into actual sales, however, that's anyone's guess for right now.
Nevertheless, if you're a US customer looking to score a Surface Pro tablet, your best bet so far seems to be heading over to your Microsoft retail store where supplies of the tablets seem to be a bit more beefed up than at the more traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy or Staples. At least, that's according to Gizmodo's Eric Limer, who has been digging around for reports on tablet availability.
Microsoft, so far, seems pleased with consumer response to the Surface Pro.
"Customer response to the launch of Surface Pro has been amazing. We are working with our retail partners who are currently out of stock of the 128GB Surface Pro to replenish supplies as quickly as possible. Our priority is to ensure that every customer gets their new Surface Pro as soon as possible," wrote a Microsoft spokesperson to Gizmodo.