Last week's launch of the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini drew smaller-than-expected crowds, but Apple said Monday it sold 3 million units of the new tablets within the first three days of availability.
This number trumps the previous record Apple set in March, when it sold 1.5 million units of the third-generation iPad within the first weekend it hit shelves.
The tech giant didn't break out separate sales figures for the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini, but said the latter almost sold out completely.
"Customers around the world love the new iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. "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."
The new tablets arrived in Apple's U.S. retail stores Friday morning, but the lines may have been relatively tame compared to previous Apple launches because of the havoc wreaked by Superstorm Sandy last week across much of the East Coast.
The launch also was exclusive to Wi-Fi versions of the new iPads, with cellular-equipped models slated to launch in the coming weeks.
Apple's new fourth-generation iPad has the same Retina display and form factor touted by the third-generation iPad that launched in March, but the iPad mini represents a first for Apple, sporting a 7.9-inch screen that has thrust the tech giant into the smaller-sized tablet market.
Apple's smaller iPad will go head-to-head against other, more compact tablets, including Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7. Still, despite the competition, analysts are projecting that the new iPad mini, like its older, larger siblings, will manage to nab a substantial share of the market.
"Generally speaking, from a specs standpoint, the mini iPad did not disappoint," wrote Julien Blin, directing analyst of Consumer Electronics and Mobile Broadband at Infonetics Research. "In fact, the mini iPad will be a key driver for Apple in select verticals like education and fast-growing emerging markets like China. It will help Apple increase its market share -- currently at 60 percent -- in the tablet market."
According to Blin, iPad mini sales will soar despite it touting a heftier price tag than its competitors. Apple has priced the new tablet starting at $329, compared to the $199 entry price of Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7.
"Apple currently dominates the tablet market, so if it wasn't hard enough for competitors, it will get even harder now as many customers will not mind paying a $130 premium … to get a mini iPad," Blin wrote.
PUBLISHED NOV. 5, 2012