Now we know what "sold out" means: Apple says it sold 3 million iPad Minis and fourth generation iPads in 3 days, which it spins as record-breaking as "double the previous first weekend milestone of 1.5 million Wi-Fi only models sold for the third generation iPad in March." But it's not. On the Monday following the Apple's Friday release of the 3rd generation iPad last March, the company also sold "three million of its incredible new iPad." That was total sales for its then-newest iPad model, Wi-Fi and 3G. The figure out today, however, includes both the Mini and the refresh of the bigger tablet, and it's compared to a lower base: just the Wi-Fi version of the 3rd generation iPad. So what does that mean for the Mini? Apple does not say. They are bundling Mini sales in with 4th generation iPad sales, so they could have sold 2,999,999 Minis and just one regular iPad, and the Mini still would not have topped the iPad sales from last March. (Obviously, the real numbers are split more evenly than that.) These lackluster numbers match the reportedly shorter fanboy lines we heard about last week.
Yet, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, said one analyst last week. Gene Munster expects this tablet to have a slow build. "We believe that over time that will change, and consumers will gradually realize the benefits of the smaller form factor iPad, which will drive adoption, although it may not take form in lines for tomorrow's launch," he said. "While we don't believe we will see it tomorrow, we believe the iPad Mini will gain momentum and become a more important product for Apple as consumers realize the benefits in portability and ease of use (one hand) from a smaller device size." He also suggests that people are waiting for the data compatible model to come out in a few weeks. Apple also mentioned supply issues in its note. "Demand for iPad mini exceeded the initial supply and while many of the pre-orders have been shipped to customers, some are scheduled to be shipped later this month," it said. So maybe it meant to sell more, but couldn't because of Foxconn. Or, maybe this is just all a part of Apple's shrinking iPad business. Guess we'll see following the holiday season.