Customers wait in line for the initial sales of the iPad
mini at Apple's retail store in Palo Alto, California on
Friday. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Apple Inc sold 3 million of its new iPads in the first
three days the tablet computers were available, driving
optimism for a strong holiday quarter despite intensifying
Sales of the 7.9-inch iPad mini and fourth-generation
9.7-inch version, both Wi-Fi only models, were double the
first-weekend sales of the Wi-Fi iPad sold in March, Apple
said on Monday.
Apple did not break out numbers for the crucial iPad mini, a
smaller version of the original tablet designed to spearhead
its foray into a segment now dominated by Amazon.com Inc and
Analysts estimate that about 2.3 million of the new iPads
sold over the weekend were the mini-tablets, surpassing
expectations of 1 million to 1.5 million.
Wall Street, which was disappointed with Apple's latest
quarterly earnings, had been looking to the iPad mini to
boost demand during the crucial year-end holiday shopping
season as competition reaches a fever pitch. Microsoft Corp
became the latest major entrant to the market last month with
the Windows-driven Surface.
While lines for the new iPads appeared lighter than usual
when they began selling at stores on Friday, the company said
demand was so strong that it "practically sold out of iPad
Apple had never before introduced two different iPad models
in one quarter. Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt said that
while the sales number looked good, the company would need to
sell another 20 million iPads this quarter to meet his
"There's still a lot of wood to chop in the quarter," McCourt
The company said it had shipped many of the new iPads ordered
before the release date, but would not send some out until
later this month.
Apple had sold 3 million iPads in March, including those with
cellular connections as well as Wi-Fi only models.
"We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out
of iPad minis," Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in a
statement. "We're working hard to build more quickly to meet
the incredible demand."
Apple shares were up 1.7 percent at $586.50 in morning
trading on Nasdaq, still down more than 16 percent from a
record high set in September.
The 7.9-inch iPad mini marks Apple's first foray into the
smaller-tablet segment and is the company's first major new
device since the death of co-founder Steve Jobs last year.
Versions of iPads with both Wi-Fi and cellular connections
will not ship in the United States for another few weeks. And
both will hit more countries later this year.
The iPad mini takes aim at Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's
Kindle Fire. At stores around the world, the product's debut
drew sparser crowds than previous launches did, dampening
initial optimism for sales. Still, the mini attracted
hundreds of people in many locations.
Apple heads into the current quarter after refreshing almost
all of its product lines, from Macintosh computers to
"We believe the iPad mini has the opportunity to surpass the
sales of the regular-sized iPads over the next several
years," said Topeka Capital analyst Brian White.