Apple Sells 3 Million Wi-Fi IPad Minis Opening Weekend
November 5, 2012

Apple Sells 3 Million Wi-Fi IPad Minis Opening Weekend

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

After many months of rumor and speculation, Apple announced their new, smaller iPad mini a little less than 2 weeks ago.

Since it´s unveiling (and the unveiling of new Mac hardware as well as a brand new, 4th generation proper iPad), many had begun to debate the price point of the mini. Before its release, many had predicted the new, smaller iPad would ship somewhere in the $249 to $299 price range. Even before the release of the mini, many argued whether these price points would be too high and hinder the adoption of this new smaller tablet.

As they often do, Apple has released new numbers from opening weekend sales, showing some strong interest in their new tablet line up.

According to their own numbers, the iPad mini has helped push iPad sales past their previous opening weekend highs twofold, selling 3 million of these tablets in the first 3 days of availability.

“Customers around the world love the new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad,” exclaimed Tim Cook, CEO of Apple in the press 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.”

This 3 million number includes Wi-Fi only iPad minis and the Wi-Fi only option of the new, 4th gen iPads. The new iPads with LTE radios built in won´t be available for another “few weeks,” according to the Apple release.

The new iPad mini starts at $329 for a 16 GB option with no LTE.

According to Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, many customers were willing to shell out for this entry model tablet. After surveying many US Apple retail stores, White predicted that as many as 60% of these stores were sold out of all 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB Wi-Fi only models of the iPad mini.

Furthermore, 100% of the stores White surveyed had completely sold out of the entry level iPad mini.

“Of those stores that still had some iPad mini stock available, the 16GB in Black & Slate and White & Silver were 100% sold out, while 90% of the 32GB in Black & Slate were sold out and 76% of the White & Silver 32GB were sold out. Finally, only 14% of the 64GB of the Black & Slate were sold out at those stores with stock available and just 10% for the 64GB White & Silver,” writes White in his letter to investors.

After surveying Apple stores in New York, White also found that both colors were popular, with 53% of these New Yorkers– still recovering from Superstorm Sandy– opted for the 16 GB model.

Apple´s rival, Samsung, recently announced shipment figures of their latest release, the Galaxy Note II. In some 37 days, Samsung was able to ship 3 million of these new smartphone tablet hybrids across the world.

Of course, there´s a few things to consider between these two data points. The Galaxy II is a weird mix of smartphone and tablet. If it´s considered a phone, Apple soundly beat them in terms of phones sold, selling 5 million iPhone 5s during opening weekend alone. If the Note II is considered a tablet, Apple comes out on top once more, offering only half of their new tablet options during opening weekend and still able to move as many as it took Samsung to ship in more than a month.

There´s also the sticky issue of Shipped versus Sold. While Samsung usually works in the shipped department, Apple always releases numbers of actual units sold. It´s a not so subtle difference, as “shipped” could mean the units are still in stock somewhere at a retail chain or a carrier´s back room. Sold, on the other hand, means just that, sales completed, units in hand.

As we head into the holiday shopping season, it looks as if Apple could emerge ahead of Samsung, if only by a slim margin.