Analysts: Apple sold around 500,000 iPad 2s in debut weekend

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad tablet juggernaut continued its surge in the market--analysts estimated the company sold around 500,000 iPad 2 tablets during the gadget's debut weekend. 

Dozens of shoppers line up Friday at the Apple store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the iPad 2. The iPad 2--a thinner, lighter, more powerful version of the original iPad--went on sale Friday, and the consensus among analysts was that Apple probably sold between 400,000 and 600,000 units. The device is available through Apple stores as well as AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart outlets.

Apple has not released weekend sales figures. The company last year crowed that it sold 300,000 units of the original iPad in the device's first 24 hours of availability in April, and that it sold 1 million units in the device's first 28 days on the market.

Reports from retail locations around the country indicated that supplies at big-box retailers were tight. "We expect to sell as many iPad 2s as we can receive from Apple," Ravi Jariwala, a Wal-Mart spokesman, told the Wall Street Journal.

"IPads are sold out across virtually all channels," Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a research note. "We were unable to find any availability." Munster estimated Apple sold 400,000 to 500,000 iPad 2s over the weekend.

The surge of demand for the iPad 2 is likely to intensify pressure on companies that have yet to release their first-generation tablets, like LG, Hewlett-Packard and  Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM). The iPad 2 will go on sale in 26 more countries starting March 25.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this Fortune article
- see this Business Insider article

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