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went on sale last week to shorter lines than previous launches. Though the company did not announce first weekend sales figures, several analytics firms believe Apple sold plenty of tablets.
Last year Apple moved about 3 million fourth-generation iPads and iPad Minis on their first weekend of availability. Apple didn't specify how many of those tablets were full-sized iPads or how many were iPad Minis. This year the company is staggering the rollout of its new tablets. The iPad Mini won't go on sale until later this month, though Apple has yet to say exactly when. Apple may not want to disclose sales until both tablets are available.
With no word from Apple, Fiksu, a mobile app marketing company, is sharing data that shines some light on the subject. Fiksu measured how many new iPads were accessing its clients' apps over the weekend and found that the iPad Air was being used by 0.88% of the millions of devices that its software touches. That figure sounds low, but it is five times the first-weekend adoption rate of the fourth-generation iPad (0.15%) and just under four times the first-weekend adoption rate of the iPad Mini (0.22%).
Extrapolating these numbers outward, Fiksu believes the Apple iPad Air had a big first weekend, with sales probably surpassing the combined 3 million units the fourth-gen iPad and iPad Mini saw together last year.
[ Not everyone is wowed by Apple's new iPads. Read Woz Doesn't Like New iPads. ]
Another company seemingly backs up Fiksu's numbers. Mixpanel, which also provides app marketing, said the iPad Air reached 1.54% of all its clients' iPad traffic. At the same time, usage of the iPad 1 and iPad 2 dropped across Mixpanel's clients' apps. This provides some interesting insight.
The drop in iPad 1 and 2 usage happening concurrently with the increase in iPad Air usage suggests that many Air purchases were coming from owners of older iPads. Perhaps owners of the first- and second-generation tablets saw no reason to upgrade to the iPad 3 or the iPad 4 but jumped at the chance to upgrade to the smaller, lighter, more powerful iPad Air.
The iPad Air comes in black and white and is powered by Apple's 1.4-GHz dual-core A7 processor with the M7 coprocessor. It has 1 GB of RAM and storage between 16 and 128 GB. The tablet includes front and rear cameras (1.3 megapixels and 5.0 megapixels, respectively) and a number of sensors, and if you don't mind spending a bit more money, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3G/4G cellular radios. The 16-GB Wi-Fi model costs $499. Pricing ranges up to $929 if you choose 128 GB and cellular radios.