Apple announces another record-setting iPad launch weekend

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Friday's launch of the fourth generation iPad and the iPad mini may not have generated the the large crowds at Apple retail stores that have marked the launch of iPhones and iPads over the past five years, but Apple still sold a record number of iPads over the launch weekend.

Apple announced this morning that it had sold three million iPads during the weekend launch of both the fourth generation iPad and the iPad mini. Those sales include only Wi-Fi iPad models since Apple won't ship LTE models until later this month. Three million Wi-Fi iPads is a record number for an iPad launch. Although Apple sold three million iPads total during the March launch of the third generation iPad, half of those sales were LTE models.

Apple did not offer a breakdown of the number of iPad minis sold versus the fourth generation iPad. It also declined to offer a breakdown of individual models by storage capacity, color, or sales channels.

One possible reason that the launch was so successful despite smaller crowds of Apple fans is the availability of the new iPads through non-Apple retailers. Another is that buyers may have waited until later in the weekend to purchase, perhaps as a result of the damage inflicted along the east coast by hurricane Sandy.

Whatever the reason, it seems clear that the new iPads are every bit the hit that their predecessors have been. They may even prove to be a bigger hit once numbers that include preorders for LTE models are included and as new units from Apple begin to catch up to demand. In Apple's press release, Tim Cook noted that the company had "practically sold out of iPad minis."

The new iPads appear to gotten a warmer reception from consumers than tablets and other devices running Microsoft's Windows RT, including Microsoft's own Surface RT, that Microsoft designed to compete with the iPad and other inexpensive tablets. That could spell disappointment for long-time Windows systems administrators and other IT professionals hoping that Microsoft's new tablet OS would allow them to banish or limit iPads and other consumer-oriented devices in the workplace.

IT professionals concerned about the need to support devices that are even more consumer -ocused than the iPad, like Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD from Barnes & Noble, may breath a sigh of relief about the iPad mini's success. Apple's iOS along with more standard Android devices offer a range of enterprise integration options as well as enterprise security capabilities not found on Kindle or Nook devices.

Organizations can suggest alternatives to Kindle and Nook devices like the iPad mini, Google Nexus tablets, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Note lines - all of which offer similar capabilities, form factors, and price points while also packing enterprise-grade features.

If organizations do want to encourage workers to buy more enterprise-caliber devices for personal and professional use, now is the time to mount a campaign of user education. As the holiday shopping season progresses, the chance that users will choose a truly consumer-focused device - or have one bought for them - will increase significantly.

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