Apple's third-generation iPad went on sale Friday, with Apple stores opening their doors early at 8 a.m. and Wal-Mart selling the new tablet at midnight. By pretty much all reports, the iPad is on its way to being a blockbuster just as the first two generations of iPads were -- despite a bit of protest.
Thousands of wanting consumers have lined up in Los Angeles, New York, Silicon Valley, Australia, Germany and other locales.
Three Piper Jaffray analysts (Gene Munster, Andrew H. Murphy and Douglas J. Clinton) sent a note to investors Friday saying that smaller lines at Apple stores this year is actually a good thing and an indication that the third-generation iPad launch was on its way to surpassing success seen in the release of the first two iPads.
"We believe 3rd gen iPad sales are off to a strong start based on healthy lines in New York City and favorable language from Apple around the pre-order," the analysts said in their note. "At the flagship 5th Avenue store in NYC, we observed 750 people in-line at 8AM, the time when 3rd gen iPads went on sale.
"This compares to 1,190 last year at the time of the iPad 2 sale. We expected the line to be shorter than 750 given nine days of "off-the-charts" pre-orders according to Apple. There was no pre-order for iPad 2, which drove customers to stores. We think that on Monday, Apple will announce over 1m units of the 3rd gen iPad were sold on launch day including pre-orders. We believe this would imply iPad units slightly ahead of the Street at 10.2 million for the March quarter."
The analysts noted, as we've reported before, that Apple has sold out of its online pre-orders for the new iPad -- a good sign that consumer demand is present for the new device.
The iPad launched in 10 different markets Friday -- the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and Britain -- and analysts are expecting that the massive release should result in about 1 million iPads sold in the first 24 hours.
On March 23, the new iPad is set to launch in 25 more markets, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Here are some videos and reports from around the world on the new iPad's first day on sale:
Silicon Valley -- The San Jose Mercury News reports that crowds could be seen all over the Bay Area Apple stores.
New York and Boston -- Wired reports that protests are doing little to put a dent in excitement surrounding the new iPad in the Big Apple. PCMag and CNN were also "on the ground" in New York for the iPad release. USA Today has a fun photo gallery of the iPad launch in New York and beyond. And Apple Insider has some good photos from New York and Boston.
Paris, Tokyo, London and Hong Kong -- The Associated Press has a roundup of worldwide iPad mania.
YouTube video from MSMunich in Munich, Germany
YouTube video from IDG News Service in Tokyo,
YouTube video from TechGuideAU in Sydney