(By Balaseshan) Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) said it has sold three million of its new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad for the first weekend after the launch, breaking the previous record of 1.5 million held by the third generation iPad.
The technology behemoth's iPad mini features a 7.9-inch multi-touch retina display, dual-core A5 chip, FaceTime HD 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and 5-megapixel iSight rear-facing camera. The iPad mini comes with a completely new design that is 23% thinner and 53% lighter than the third generation model.
Apple said demand for iPad mini exceeded the initial supply and while many of the pre-orders have been shipped to customers, some are scheduled to be shipped later this month.
"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," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.
The new fourth generation iPad features a gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina display, new Apple-designed A6X chip with quad-core graphics, and FaceTime HD camera. The new Apple-designed A6X chip, which was as expected by market analysts , delivers up to twice the CPU performance and up to twice the graphics performance of the A5X chip.
Both iPad mini and fourth generation iPad come with iOS 6, the world's most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features. Both support for the Lightning connector that is smaller, smarter and more durable than the 30-pin connector. Lightning connector accessories are available to support cameras, SD cards and VGA or HDMI digital video.
On October 26, FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said shares of Apple are quite attractive currently despite disappointing quarterly results and guidance. He said the company has two strong new product cycles currently (iPhone 5 and iPad/iPad Mini), and the company continues to gain share (as it outgrows the PC and smartphone markets).
According to information and analytics company IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), a smaller iPad is expected to help the 7-inch media tablet market double in 2012 and 2013. IHS has predicted that Apple will successfully position the smaller iPad tablet as a device that will be attractive and easy to adopt for both new and returning customers.
IHS estimates global sales of 7-inch tablets to double to 34 million units in 2012 from 17 million in 2011. The firm projects sales to boom 96% to 67 million in 2013.
With the arrival of the smaller iPad, Apple tablet competitors are increasingly looking at the 8.x-inch and larger categories as they seek to find new avenues of differentiation compared to Apple, said Rhoda Alexander, director, tablet and monitor research for IHS.
The Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of both iPad mini and fourth generation iPad will ship in a few weeks in the U.S. and in many more countries later this year.
iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular will be offered for a suggested retail price of $459 for the 16GB model, $559 for the 32GB model and $659 for the 64GB model. Fourth generation iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon will be offered for a suggested retail price of $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 for the 64GB model.
AAPL is trading up 1.15% at $583.46 on Monday. The stock has been trading between $363.32 and $705.07 for the past 52 weeks.