New iPad Sales Hit 3 Million

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Apple says it has sold 3 million new iPads since the tablet launched last week, claiming its ‘strongest iPad launch yet’

Apple claims it has sold 3 million new iPads since the next-generation tablet’s 16 March release. That comes within hours of Apple chief executive Tim Cook announcing during a 19 March conference call that the new iPad had sold in “record” numbers.

US mobile operator AT&T also reported that it set a single-day record for iPad sales and activations on 16 March, the first day of the new device’s release. Unlike Apple, however, AT&T didn’t cite specific numbers to back up that claim.

‘Strongest launch yet’

In a 19 March statement posted on Apple’s website, Philip Schiller, the company’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, claimed that weekend had produced “the strongest iPad launch yet“.

Analysts previously estimated that Apple could sell as many as 1 million units of the new iPad on 16 March. “While the sell-through number is impossible to predict, given uncertain iPad supply levels,” Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, wrote in a co-authored 12 March research note, “sales of over [1 million] iPads on launch day would be a slight positive relative to the Street consensus at 10.1 [million] iPads in the Mar-12 quarter.”

On 16 March, his firm observed some 750 people queuing around Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue shop in New York City, a number that he proclaimed was “better than we expected”, given the combination of “nine days of preorders” for the new tablet, along with the 8 a.m. release time (when a lot of people would presumably need to head to work) and the presence of a Grand Central Terminal shop nearby.

At the Grand Central Terminal shop, eWEEK found a queue of several dozen iPad purchasers that, while long, nonetheless moved at a fairly quick pace. At 8:30 a.m., the queue was smaller and less energetic than the one for that shop’s grand opening (so to speak) in December 2011.

High demand

According to news reports, Apple Stores around the US also had queues in front of them ahead of the opening, and shipment times from Apple’s online shop have steadily crept up to two to three weeks – an indicator of high demand.

The new iPad (Apple hasn’t given it an official-sounding name along the lines of “iPad HD” or “iPad 3”) features a high-resolution Retina Display, an improved camera and processor, and comparable battery life to its predecessors.

In a bid to further pressure the competition, the new iPad’s prices top out at £559 for the Wi-Fi-only, 64GB model and £659 for the 64GB model with Wi-Fi and 4G. Those in the United States will have the option of purchasing the new iPad with 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity on either Verizon or AT&T. In the UK Apple says this model is compatible with the existing high-speed networks of Vodafone, O2, Orange and 3 UK.

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