iPad online usage doubles in May

And it spikes 36% after Apple's international launch

The iPad's online usage share more than doubled in May, and spiked significantly over the weekend after Apple launched the tablet in Europe, Japan and elsewhere, a Web metrics firm said today.

According to data from Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Net Applications, the iPad's share was 0.09% in May, about two-and-a-half times that of April. In other words, of every 10,000 devices connecting to the Internet, 9 were iPads. By comparison, Windows XP powered 6,253 of every 10,000 systems on the Web last month.

On the final Friday-Saturday-Sunday of the month, iPad's share jumped 36% compared to the same stretch the week before, climbing from 0.11% during May 21-23 to 0.15% this past weekend.

iPad usage regularly increases each weekend, particularly on Saturday and Sunday, as a greater percentage of people use home, rather than work, machines and devices to go online.

Net Applications cited the May 28 debut of the iPad in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. for the dramatic weekend spike. Although consumers in those countries were able to pre-order iPads starting May 10, the tablet wasn't shipped to those customers, or put up for sale in retail stores, until last Friday.

On Monday, Apple boasted that it had sold two million iPads since the media tablet launched April 3 in the U.S. American customers began placing pre-orders on March 12.

Several analysts revised their 2010 iPad sales estimates today after Apple's announcement.

Brian Marshall of BroadPoint AmTech, for example, raised his projection to 10 million iPads for the calendar year, a 67% increase over his earlier estimate of 6 million. "Due to better than expected demand trends, we are raising our iPad units to 2.5 million in June 2010, 10 million in [calendar year] 2010 and 17 million in 2011," said Marshall in a note to investors today.

According to Apple's own number of two million iPads sold in the first 11 weeks of availability, the company is on track to sell 7.6 million tablets this year. In the end, that number is likely to be larger: Apple also said Monday that it would launch the iPad in nine more countries in July, and still others later this year. However, Apple did not specify which countries will make up the July nine or how many markets it will enter before year's end.

NetApplications measures iPad and other operating systems' usage share by analyzing a pool of about 160 million unique visitors each month to its clients' sites.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld . Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com .

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

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