Apple Sells 3M IPads In First Weekend, Best Launch Yet ~

Image representing Tim Cook as depicted in Cru...

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Apple Inc. (AAPL) sold three million of its new iPad tablet computers over the weekend, marking the strongest launch for the device yet and creating considerable momentum as the company attempts to grab market share in the fast-growing mobile market.

The release of the sales figure followed comments earlier Monday from Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, and AT&T Inc. (T), one of the iPad launch partners. Both said the new device’s weekend debut, which began Friday, had set records.

The new device, which starts at $499 for the entry-level model, is an important catalyst for the Cupertino, Calif., company’s growth. Apple investors pushed the company’s shares to all-time-highs as the latest version of the iPad was first being announced, and then again as it was being released. Apple itself also has said it expects the tablet market to eclipse PCs.

Apple has sold more than 58 million iPads since launching the device about two years ago…..

–Apple says it sold more than 3 million new iPads since Friday’s launch

–Tally makes for more than 58 million iPads sold so far

–Sales report comes after Apple announced first dividend in over a decade

(Updates with more details in first four paragraphs.)

More of this story By Ian Sherr Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES