Readings: Apple’s iPad, Photography, Superstar Effect, Unpaid Internships

Here’s what I have been reading over the weekend:

(1) “Apple IPad’s Debut-Weekend Sales May Be Surpassing Estimates” [Business Week] – the numbers are in, and it looks like Apple had a spectacular weekend in terms of iPad sales.

The iPad’s initial sales may have reached 700,000 units, Piper Jaffray & Co.’s Gene Munster said in an interview today. The Minneapolis-based analyst previously predicted sales of 200,000 to 300,000, while Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.’s Toni Sacconaghi projected 300,000 to 400,000.

With the cheapest iPad selling for $499 and the top of the line model selling for $829, one can make an early estimate from retail sales of the iPad in just one weekend. If you assume that the average iPad sold for $600 (taking account three things: taxes, that Apple sold a significant number of 32GB and 64GB iPad models as well the 3G iPad models, and that shoppers probably bought accessories and other items from Apple in addition to the iPad), and the number is astonishing: at least $400 million of revenue this weekend.

(2) “Is Photography Over?” [San Francisco Museum of Fine Art] – a spectrum of answers from critics and photographers on the state of photography.

(3) “Tiger Woods and the Superstar Effect” [Wall Street Journal] – an excellent piece by Jonah Lehrer on this interesting effect observed in sports, schools, and businesses. This is an interesting discovery:

The same phenomenon seems to also affect students taking the SAT. In a paper released last year, researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Haifa compared average SAT scores with the average number of students in test-taking venues in all 50 states, and found that students who took the SAT in larger groups did worse. They concluded that the mere knowledge of their competitors—the sight of all of those other students scratching in their answers in the same room—decreased motivation.

(4) “Growth of Unpaid Internships May Be Illegal, Officials Say” [New York Times] – a timely article about students trying to find jobs and sometimes choosing to work for free. I was surprised by this quote from an N.Y.U. student:

It would have been nice to be paid, but at this point, it’s so expected of me to do this for free…If you want to be in the music industry that’s the way it works. If you want to get your foot in the door somehow, this is the easiest way to do it. You suck it up.

It seems like such a resigned attitude. Can that possibly be true of the music industry?

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