Apple Inc has launched the iPad Air in Nov. 1 at its retail stores in the United States along with the 41 other locations, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Brian J. White, chief financial analyst of Cantor Fitzgerald, said the iPad Air was strongly welcomed and sales were strong.
Mr White said that Apple's iPad Air was sold out quickly in Hong Kong while shipping times in China were expanding.
Piper Jaffray's top Apple analyst, Gene Munster, said that he expects Apple Inc to sell between 2.5 million and 3.5 million iPad Air devices over the weekend. There may not be quite as many people standing in line outside Apple stores to buy the latest iPad version, but the iPad Air is still expected to have a strong opening weekend.
If iPad Air sales reach the 3.5 million forecast, it would be more than the 3 million in units sold the iPad 4 had in its opening weekend. Unlike in 2012, Apple is launching two iPad devices in November, with the iPad Mini with retina display expected to be released later this month.
Apple analysts argue that this might be the reason for shorter lines in Apple stores with the iPad Air release. Customers may be waiting to buy the iPad Mini with retina display, instead of the iPad Air. Mr Munster said the turnout for the iPad Air was slightly better than they expected.
According to IDC data, Apple Inc's share of the global market for tablets has dropped below 30 per cent compared to more than 40 per cent in 2012 due to cheaper tablets from rivals like Samsung. Analysts expect Apple to improve its market share in 2014 with iPad Air and iPad Mini with retina display sales included in the figures.
Mr White's news on strong iPad Air sales supported his view of giving Apple stocks a "buy" rating with a price target of $777. Apple Inc shares closed at $520 on Nov 1.
If strong iPad Air sales continue after the release of the iPad Mini 2 in stores, Apple Inc may just see an "iPad Christmas" as CEO Tim Cook declared in his conference call with analysts.
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