Apple Sells 3 Million New iPads

Apple sold 3 million new iPads since the tablet's launch March 16. AT&T is also claiming record iPad sales and activations.

Apple claims it has sold 3 million new iPads since the next-generation tablet€™s March 16 release. That comes within hours of Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing during a March 19 conference call that the new iPad had sold in €œrecord€ numbers.

AT&T also reported that it set a single-day record for iPad sales and activations on March 16, the first day of the new device€™s release. Unlike Apple, however, the carrier didn€™t cite specific numbers to back up that claim.

In a March 19 statement posted on Apple€™s Website, Philip Schiller, the company€™s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, claimed that weekend had produced €œthe strongest iPad launch yet.€

Analysts previously estimated that Apple could sell as many as 1 million units of the new iPad March 16. €œWhile 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 March 12 research note, €œsales 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 March 16, his firm observed some 750 people standing in line around Apple€™s flagship Fifth Avenue store, a number that he proclaimed was €œbetter than we expected,€ given the combination of €œnine 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, instead of wait in a line outside an Apple Store) and the presence of a Grand Central Terminal store nearby.

At the Grand Central Terminal store, eWEEK found a line of several dozen iPad purchasers that, while long, nonetheless moved at a fairly quick pace. At 8:30 a.m., the line was smaller and less energetic than the one for that store€™s grand opening (so to speak) in December 2011. According to news reports, Apple Stores around the country also had lines in front of them ahead of the opening, and shipment times from Apple€™s online store 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 €œiPad HD€ or €œiPad 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 $699 for the WiFi-only, 64GB model and $829 for the 64GB model with WiFi 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.

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