Technology giant Apple, Inc. (AAPL: Quote) announced Monday that it sold 3 million of its newest iPad over the first weekend, doubling the first-weekend sales of the previous version released in March.
"Customers around the world love the new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad. We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis. We're working hard to build more quickly to meet the incredible demand," CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.
Apple launched sales of the smaller version of its iPad tablet and an upgraded version of its iPad at a company-held event in California on November 2. Pre-orders were logged in for the iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad from Friday, October 26.
The company also revealed that the demand for iPad mini exceeded the initial supply and the many of that pre-orders have already been shipped to customers, while many are scheduled for delivery later this month.
The two new models unveiled by Apple on October 23 will help it directly take on Google, Inc. (GOOG: Quote) and Amazon.com (AMZN: Quote) for a piece of the small-tablet market in the upcoming holiday season. This is also seen as a shot in the arm for Apple to take on the smaller Galaxy Tab models from bitter rival South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (SSNLF).
Apple is a late entrant to the smaller tablet market, as Amazon had released its 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet last year and updated it this year, while Google released its own tablet Nexus 7 earlier this year. Barnes & Noble is also a member of this club with its Nook tablet.
According to research group IHS iSuppli, the market for 7-inch tablet is expected to double to 34 million worldwide in 2012. Apple is trying to cash on this market segment with market experts expecting it to sell about 5 - 7 million iPad mini's by year-end.
Apple, which introduced its first version of iPad in 2010, is so dominant that it almost controls about 50 to 55 percent of the tablet market. Apple has sold 100 million iPad's since 2010. However, smaller tablets from Amazon and Google have found a niche market, as smaller tablets are easy to carry, use and more importantly, cheaper.
Apple has currently only launched the sales of Wi-Fi models of both iPad mini and fourth generation iPad, with the Wi-Fi + Cellular models to start shipping in the US in a few weeks and in many more countries later in the year.
Both the new models are currently available in 34 countries including the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and the UK. The company noted that it will be available in many more countries later this year, including mainland China.
Apple's move to launch a smaller version of its iPad tablet was widely anticipated, but the launch of the updated version of its larger iPad at the same price point as its predecessor came as a surprise as the earlier version was only launched in March.
The new fourth generation iPad now boasts of a new A6X chip - the latest chip designed by Apple-, 10 hours of battery life, an HD front camera, and twice the Wi-Fi performance when compared to previous iPad models.
The new 7.9-inch iPad mini features a A5 processor chip - similar to the one used in iPad 2-, a front facing HD camera and a 5 mega pixel camera on the back. It also comes with iOS 6, Apple's latest mobile operating system. iPad mini is 7.2 mm thin and weighs 0.68 pounds and is available in both Wi-Fi only model, and Wi-Fi with cellular.
In Monday's regular trading session, AAPL is currently trading at $582.61, up $5.81 or 1.01% on a volume of 4.79 million shares. In the past 52-week period, the stock has been trading in a range of $363.32 to $705.07.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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