iPad Air's usage share hints at opening weekend sales boom

Air's share was double that of 2012's iPad Mini + fourth-gen iPad, when Apple sold 3M tablets

Apple's new iPad Air got off to a fast start this weekend, according to measurements of its online activity, which was twice the combined shares of 2012's then-new fourth-generation iPad and iPad Mini tablets.

Boston-based Fiksu, an iOS and Android app marketing firm, said that as of Monday, the iPad Air accounted for 0.72% of the iPad traffic that accessed its clients' apps. That was almost five times the 0.15% of the fourth-generation iPad after its first three days, and over three times the 0.21% of last years' original iPad Mini.

The iPad Air's online usage was double the combined total (0.36%) of last year's new tablets at the same point after their debut.

Both the iPad Mini and the fourth-generation iPad went on sale Nov. 2, 2012. This year, Apple launched only the 9.7-in. iPad Air, saying it would start selling a refreshed iPad Mini -- one with a higher-resolution Retina-style screen -- later this month.

Another change this cycle: Apple kicked off sales of both Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi-plus-cellular models simultaneously. In 2012, the latter lagged the former by two weeks, debuting Nov. 16.

Apple has not announced opening-weekend sales for the iPad Air -- which remains widely available, making good on analysts' expectations that supply would match demand -- as it did last year when it cited 3 million sold after the first three days.

But while Fiksu's data hints at double the sales -- in other words, approximately 6 million -- it's far from a guaranteed indicator, coming as Fiksu's numbers do from app usage, which identifies activity such as app launches and in-app purchases, not the number of individual tablets.

iPad Air usage chart
The iPad Air's initial usage share of all Apple tablets hinted at sharp sales over the opening weekend. (Image: Fiksu.)

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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