Daily Mobile Lowdown: iPad2 Sales; Microsoft’s 10,000; T-Mobile’s M&A Memo

Our look at some of the stories today in mobile: Some initial iPad2 sales figures; Windows Phone 7 apps; and more kindling for the T-Mobile/Sprint (NYSE: S) merger flames.

iPad 2: It will, of course, take more than a weekend to see what the sustained response is to the iPad2 in terms of unit sales, and to see how it gets picked up by the general public as opposed to early adopters. But some figures from Piper Jaffray are pointing to a blistering start.

Gene Munster’s team’s spoke to 236 “would-be buyers” in Minneapolis and New York, as well as different retailers, including Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) stores and big-box retailers like Target and Best Buy. The end result: Munster thinks Apple will have shifted 400,000-500,000 iPads in its first weekend, versus 300,000 during the first weekend of sales for the first-edition iPad. Most of those iPad 2’s were sold in one day, with stocks gone by Saturday.

Significantly, 70 percent of iPad 2 buyers were first-time iPad buyers. When the iPhone 4 went on sale only 23 percent of buyers were new to the product. Of those buyers, 51 percent are Mac users; 49 percent use PCs. The 3G model was huge: 47 percent of buyers picked up the more-expensive 3G product, giving Apple a higher ASP for the product — although that may have been down to iPad fever and people picking up whatever they could get, rather than opting first for the more expensive products.

Usage/cross-device matchup: Only six percent plan to read books on their iPad; 17 percent want to use it for games; 24 percent already own a Kindle; 65 percent own an iPhone.

Microsoft: The company may be fending off criticism about a lack of updates for Windows Phone 7, but the OS still appears to have reached an important milestone. The company now has more than 10,000 apps — 10,191, to be exact — in its Marketplace app store.

As Engadget points out, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has gotten to that point faster than both Google’s Android Market and Apple’s App Store did.

But that could be down to many reasons, with possibly all of them playing a role: pent-up demand to develop apps for the WP7 platform (and demand from WP7 phone users for more content); or a very strong drive from Microsoft to get more apps into its ecosystem; or the fact that the app market has matured a lot since the App Store and Market launched, so it’s a lot easier to get to 10,000 than it was in the past.

T-Mobile: A rumour is only untrue until it suddenly is not, it seems. T-Mobile has yet to go on record to respond to reports that it is looking at a tie-up with mobile operator Sprint, but this weekend, a memo surfaced (first reported by TMO News) from the CEO of T-Mobile USA that effectively confirmed to staff that the mobile operator is indeed exploring “strategic partnerships” — as well as other ways to “improve our competitive position”, including sales of towers and “other financial options”.

Whatever happens, there is clearly some pressure in the market for a bit of consolidation among the smaller (that is, not AT&T (NYSE: T) or Verizon) mobile players. Other reports have included a possible tie-up with Clearwire (NSDQ: CLWR) for spectrum and mast-sharing.

T-Mobile is currently the fourth-largest operator in the U.S., and up to now Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT) has stated that it would like to remain committed to staying in that market.