Apple Inc. (AAPL: Quote) said Monday that it has sold three million units of its new iPad since its launch on Friday, March 16, making it the most successful launch among the three generations of the product.
"The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold?the strongest iPad launch yet," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can't wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world this Friday."
AT&T Inc. (T) said earlier Monday that it set a new single-day record for its iPad sales and activations on Friday, March 16, demonstrating robust demand for the new iPad.
The new iPad went on sale Friday in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the US Virgin Islands, with die-hard Apple fans swarming stores to get hold of the new device. The new device will be available in 24 more countries, including Italy and Spain, on Friday, March 23.
Apple's new iPad comes with a new Retina display, the company's new A5X chip with quad-core graphics, a 5 megapixel iSight camera and ultrafast 4G LTE among a host of other features.
The new iPad's Retina display delivers four times the number of pixels of iPad 2. The 3.1 million pixels in the Retina display are more than one million more pixels than an HD TV.
The new iPad Wi-Fi models are available for a suggested retail price of $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model and $699 for the 64GB model. iPad Wi-Fi + 4G for either AT&T or Verizon are available for a suggested retail price of $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 for the 64GB model.
The iPad has been extremely popular ever since its initial launch. Although several companies have launched their tablets, none has been able to match the popularity and saleability of Apple's iPad that commands nearly 60% of the tablet market.
Apple released the new iPad sales figures hours after the company announced plans to again start paying quarterly dividends, and also set a $10 billion share repurchase program.
The Cupertino, California-based company said that it plans to initiate a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share sometime in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2012, which begins on July 1. The Silicon Valley giant paid its last dividend in December 1995. The three-year $10 billion share repurchase program is set to kick off from fiscal 2013, which begins on September 30, 2012. Apple is currently sitting on a cash pile approaching about $100 billion.
Robust earnings growth, continued stronghold on the smartphone and tablet market and the possibility of a dividend payment catapulted Apple shares to new highs recently. The company's shares touched the $600 mark for the first time on March 15, the day before the new iPad went on sale. Apple shares took just 32 days to reach $600 from $500. Apple has already overtaken Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) as the world's most valuable company.
Last month, Apple became only the sixth company ever to touch the half-trillion mark in market valuation. Microsoft, Cisco, General Electric, Intel and Exxon Mobil had all scaled the target, but none of them were able to maintain it.
This stunning evolution of Apple can be almost fully credited to its co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011. Jobs became the backbone of Apple since he returned to the company some fifteen years ago. Apple was really non-existent at that time, but Jobs transformed it from an only-a-computer maker, to developing portable music players, multimedia phones, and pioneers in the tablet computers.
Apple shares closed Monday's regular trading session at $601.10, up $15.53 or 2.65%, and gained an additional $3.42 in after hours trading.
by RTT Staff Writer
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