Mobile // Mobile Devices
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3/19/2012
12:36 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Apple Silent On iPad Sales Numbers

Both Apple and AT&T said they "set records" over the weekend but didn't share any details on the new iPad's initial burst of sales.

Surprisingly, Apple today didn't crow about sales figures for the new iPad, which went on sale Friday. The company is often quick to announce opening weekend stats for new hardware, especially its iOS-based devices. Instead, during a press call today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was "thrilled" with the new iPad's performance, which had a "record weekend."

AT&T chimed in, too. Spokesperson Seth Bloom tweeted, "Huge day: On Friday, AT&T set a new single-day record for its iPad sales and activations."

Later, the company issued a more official statement, echoing much of Bloom's, which said, "On Friday, March 16, AT&T set a new single-day record for its iPad sales and activations, demonstrating robust demand for the new iPad on the nation's largest 4G network, covering nearly 250 million people."

Those are some pretty vague statements and don't tell us much. Oddly, Apple's other carrier partner, Verizon Wireless, has said nothing of opening weekend sales. Not a word.

[ Read about Apple's share buyback plans. Apple Announces Dividend, Stock Buyback. ]

Here's what we do know: Apple sold through its initial batch of launch-day stock for delivery. Shipping times for the new iPad were at "2 to 3 weeks" on Apple's website by March 12. Today, a week later, Apple's website still says that new orders will ship in 2 to 3 weeks.

On Friday--launch day--some Apple stores, such as the flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City, had long lines out front. Others had short lines, or even no lines at all. The device didn't sell out at Apple retail stores (or if it did, I haven't been able to uncover any reports confirming that).

According to the few Apple stores I called this morning, none sold out over the weekend and all three still had a healthy supply of most models. (Read our hands-on first impressions here.)

So, how many iPads did Apple sell? Totally unknown. Could be 1 million, could be 5 million. Apple didn't say anything about the number of pre-orders for the device, nor did it say how much stock it had on hand at launch. For all we know, Apple had 10 times more new iPads available on day one as it did for previous iPad launches. Then again, maybe only the most committed tech addicts bothered to upgrade or buy the new device.

Bottom line: Apple probably sold a lot of iPads, and it will eventually get around to telling us how many.

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