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Apple sells 3 million iPads over the weekend, remains coy on how many were Mini

iPad mini price not too expensiveApple has sent forth its traditional, post-opening weekend press release trumpeting how many new iPads it has sold. We say iPads — plural — because it wasn’t only the iPad mini that went on sale, but the fourth generation iPad too, despite it being almost completely ignored by the press.

From November 2 to November 5, Apple sold 3 million iPads, which it says “doubles the previous first weekend milestone of 1.5 million Wi-Fi only models sold for the third generation in March.” Neither of the two new iPads have cellular connectivity yet, but 4G models will ship in the next few weeks.

Just in case you didn’t quite catch it, Apple CEO Tim Cook chimed in to confirm that the company “set a new launch weekend record,” and adds that it had “practically sold out of iPad minis.”

So, a resounding success? Well, possibly, but there’s no breakdown of exactly how many units of that 3 million magic number were iPad minis. Reports from around the world on Friday didn’t contain the same degree of excitement over the iPad Mini as they have for previous Apple products, and described shorter lines at stores.

This didn’t stop it from selling out, a fact that anyone could gather from a cursory glance at Twitter late in the launch day, as frustrated buyers found the shelves empty at their local stores. Apple’s statement closes with reference to online pre-orders selling-out too, confirming that “demand for the iPad mini exceeded the initial supply.”

Three million sales needed for success

Prior to the weekend, an analyst from BTIG said Apple needed to shift at least 3 million iPad Mini tablets for it to be hailed a success. For some context, the iPhone 5 sold 5 million over its opening weekend and as we reported last week, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has taken nearly 40 days to reach 3 million sales.

Apple analyst Gene Munster warned the company may fall short of this figure, estimating between 1 million and 1.5 million iPad mini devices would be sold. He noted that this lower than expected figure is because the iPad mini will be a “grower,” and that once people see and try it, demand will increase.

Without the aforementioned sales breakdown, it’s impossible to know how close Munster came to the truth, but he’s probably not far off. At least we assume he’s not, as for all we know, the fourth generation iPad could have been responsible for 75 percent of the total.

With the iPad mini selling out online and in stores, it certainly looks like another successful launch for Apple. But it’s difficult to say just how much of this was true demand, and how much was lack of supply. Among the endless iPad Mini rumors, you may recall an analyst warning that there would only be “acceptable” iPad mini stock levels for the first month, due to problems with the supply chain. This rumor may have come true, and comes soon after the iPhone 5’s similar problems.

The iPad mini came out in 34 countries on Friday and according to the Apple Store, is currently limited to two per customer with a two-week wait before it ships.