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3M iPad Minis, fourth-gen iPads sold in opening weekend

3M iPad Minis, fourth-gen iPads sold in opening weekend
November 5, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Apple sold three million iPad Minis and fourth-generation iPads in the last three days worldwide, setting a record for the company's tablet sales and doubling the opening weekend numbers the third-gen iPad moved in March.

The company did not provide numbers for the individual models, but Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the 7.9-inch iPad Mini, the company's first entry in the competitive mini tablet market, "practically sold out."

Even if the iPad Mini accounted for only a third of the 3 million total sales, that number would still compare favorably against the 800,000 to 1 million sales analyst firm Piper Jaffray has estimated for the Nexus 7 -- Google's flagship 7-inch Android tablet and one of the iPad Mini's biggest rivals -- between its launch in July and September.

However, Nexus 7 manufacturer Asus told the Wall Street Journal recently it's now shipping close to 1 million of the devices per month. And last week, Google refreshed its Nexus 7 line, discounted the cheapest model by $50 (now as cheap as $200 versus the iPad Mini's $330 starting price), and announced a new range of Nexus 10 tablets to compete with the 10-inch iPads.

The other primary player in the mini tablet space, Amazon, has not disclosed sales numbers for its Kindle Fire family, but analyst firm Forrester Research puts total sales for the line, which includes both 7-inch and 8.9-inch models, at 7 million (the same firm estimates Nexus 7's lifetime sales at 3 million).

When Gamasutra spoke to game developers about the iPad Mini last month, most said they expect Apple's offering to eventually dominate the mini tablet space, though some were concerned that the $330 starting price was too high and would fail to win over some consumers looking for a low-cost device.

These latest opening weekend numbers are for the WiFi-only iPad Minis and fourth-gen iPads -- the models with cellular support will release in a few weeks. Since the original iPad's debut in 2010, the tablet family has sold more than 103 million units.

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