November 05, 2012, 1:43 PM — Apple today said it sold 3 million iPad tablets during the opening three-day weekend of sales of the Mini, the same number it boasted it had dealt out in March for the then-new full-sized iPad.
"We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad Minis," said CEO Tim Cook in a statement Monday. "We're working hard to build more quickly to meet the incredible demand."
Apple last Friday kicked off sales of the new iPad Mini, a 7.9-in. version of its iconic tablet, and the fourth-generation iPad, a refreshed model that sports a faster SoC, or "system on a chip," the company-designed A6X.
Apple did not break down sales for the iPad Mini and iPad, but claimed that the 3 million units were double that of sales of the Wi-Fi only third-generation 9.7-in. iPad in its first weekend eight months ago. In March, Apple sold both Wi-Fi and cellular devices from the get-go.
Currently, only Wi-Fi models of the iPad Mini and next-generation iPad are available.
Apple will eventually offer iPad Mini and fourth-generation iPad tablets able to connect to mobile data networks. Previously, it had promised those would go on sale in mid-November -- which it still does on its online store -- but today the firm said the more expensive devices would be available "in a few weeks," perhaps hinting at a delay.
Although Apple did not separate iPad Mini from iPad sales, analysts were not shy from prognosticating.
"We estimate that two-thirds, or 2 million plus, of the units [were] iPad Minis," said Brian Marshall of the ISI Group, in a note to clients today.
Brian White, an analyst with Topeka Capital Markets, said that his checks over the weekend at Apple retail stores around the country found about 60% of them completely sold out of the iPad Mini.
Not surprisingly, White found that the least-expensive 16GB iPad Mini, which sells for $329, was not available at any store. The $429 32GB and $529 64GB iPad Minis were out of stock at 90% and 75% of the stores, respectively.
"During our exit Survey in New York City, we found the 16GB iPad Mini was the most popular of the three models, accounting for 53% of respondents, followed by 26% for 32GB and 21% for 64GB," said White in an email to clients today. "One of the reasons that consumers are interested in the iPad Mini is [to get] a quality iPad experience but at a lower price point, which naturally drives the strongest demand for the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad mini."