Apple's iPad launch exceeds expectations: 3 million sold

Apple's supply chain was able to procure enough parts to launch the iPad in a bevy of countries right from the start.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company had a record launch for its latest iPad. He wasn't kidding. Apple sold 3 million iPads since the March 16 launch.

In a statement, Apple touted that the iPad launch was a "blockbuster."

On a conference call announcing a dividend and share repurchase plan, Cook said: "We had a record weekend, and we're thrilled with it."

As noted before, Apple's supply chain may have been the real hero here. Apple procured enough screens and was able to launch in a bevy of countries---US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the US Virgin Islands---right from the beginning. Also see: With Apple's new iPad, supply chain is the hero

And 24 countries will get the iPad on March 23.

In any case, expectations for Apple's iPad sales may be a bit low. For instance, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster was expecting 1 million iPads on the first day of sales. He said:

Looking back historically, Apple did not release iPad 2 weekend sales figures, but the company did sell 300k 1st gen iPads on launch day. We continue to believe the company sold over 1m iPads on launch day including pre-orders and expect slight upside to the Street's 10.2m iPad estimate for March.

Instead, Apple delivered 3 million iPads in a three day and change run.