Apple iPad sells 3 million over launch weekend

Triple what the iPad 2 managed, despite the lesser queues spotted on Friday
Darren Allan

March 20, 2012
iPad 3

Apple has released the first numbers for the sales of its new iPad, and when it comes to tablets, the Cupertino company can apparently do no wrong.

Another record has been broken, with the third-generation iPad shifting no less than 3 million units over its initial weekend on sale, Apple claims. That rather goes against the stories of lesser queues than the iPad 2 witnessed on launch day – sales must have been far more consistent throughout the weekend, as opposed to just on day one.

The iPad 2 only shifted a million over its launch weekend (only being a relative term, of course). And the original iPad managed just 80,000, meaning the new tablet outsold it by a factor of 37.

It seems that high-resolution display is proving to be as attractive as we guessed it would be. The Android tablet market is now playing catch-up, with HD quality displays not going to emerge for another three months or so.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, was on hand as ever for a quick boast: “The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold – the strongest iPad launch yet. 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.”

Multiple analysts are estimating that Apple will sell around 60 to 65 million iPads this year, doubling up the numbers of the slate in the wild.

Not everything has gone according to plan, though, with a new “Antennagate” story emerging around the device regarding overheating issues. See our story on that saga here.

Meanwhile, Apple has announced plans to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program later this year.

In a press release, the company noted: “Subject to declaration by the Board of Directors, the Company 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, 2012.”

“Additionally, the Company’s Board of Directors has authorized a $10 billion share repurchase program commencing in the Company’s fiscal 2013, which begins on September 30, 2012. The repurchase program is expected to be executed over three years, with the primary objective of neutralizing the impact of dilution from future employee equity grants and employee stock purchase programs.”

All this will knock a fair-sized hole in Apple’s massive cash reserves of nearing $100 billion, which Steve Jobs had amassed to use for strategic purchases rather than rewarding investors.

However, at the rate of knots Apple is making money, the company can afford to keep investors happy – and indeed, might face a rebellion from them if it didn’t.


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