Apple has reported strong early sales of its new iPad tablet, which it began selling for the first time in the US over the weekend, sending its shares up close to an all time high. In a statement, Apple said that it had shifted 300,000 iPads in the US as of midnight Saturday (3 April). These sales included deliveries of pre-ordered iPads to customers, deliveries to channel partners and sales at Apple Retail Stores. Apple also announced that iPad users had downloaded over 1 million apps from Apple’s App Store and over 250,000 ebooks from its iBookstore during the first day. “iPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad,” said CEO Steve Jobs, who predicted that the device would be a “game changer.” According to a Reuters report, the first weekend sales figures were in line with Wall Street expectations and with sales of the iPhone when it first launched in 2007.
Analysts contacted by Reuters believe the company may have sold as many as 400,000 iPad tablets by the end of the weekend, despite the fact that many Apple stores were closed for Easter on Sunday. The sales figures were well received on Wall Street with at least four brokerages raising their full-year earnings estimates and price targets. Apple’s shares closed up 1.1 percent at US$238.49 on the Nasdaq, close to its all-time high of US$238.73. Shares in the firm had been rising all last week in preparation for the iPad retail launch. Reuters also notes that Apple is expected to host a media event on Thursday to unveil the latest version of its operating system software for the iPhone. In an email invitation, Apple said it would offer “a sneak peek into the future of the iPhone OS” ahead of the expected launch of a new version of the device this summer.