Apple sets new iPad records, gives investors cash

By Jonny Evans

Apple [AAPL] has set new records for the new iPad (3?) as demand for the device remains "off the charts", company CEO, Tim Cook, has confirmed.

[ABOVE: The new iPad tested beside a Transformer Prime tablet using the Tegra 3 processor. Bear in mind games used in this test haven't yet been optimized for the iPad, but have for the Tegra3 processor.]

Interstellar iPad drive

Introduced last Friday, the new iPad generated huge pre-sale orders online while thousands queues to pick one up. "We had a record iPad weekend and we're thrilled with it," said Cook this morning.

The new device has already been jailbroken and is generating record reviews, "New iPad is the 'epitome' of what a tablet should be," writes Computerworld.

Not bad for a product Apple's copyist competitors slammed as "nothing but a giant iPhone" when it was first introduced.

How many iPads has Apple sold so far?

Ad network Chitika this morning said that the new iPad already accounts for 4.617 percent of all iPad-driven traffic on its ad network. That's not a representative figure -- it only tracks traffic on one ad network -- but does confirm rapid adoption of the new device.

The original iPad saw 300,000 sales on day one while the second generation model eventually shifted over 1 million units in its first 28 days of sale.

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And an Apple dividend

Apple this morning also shocked the investment community when it announced it has no plans to purchase a country with its $100 billion cash hoard -- instead it's going to give shareholders a cash dividend and begin a share repurchase scheme in late summer.

Apple has been under a lot of pressure to do something with its billions. Now it says it will, initiating a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share sometime in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2012, which begins on July 1, 2012.

The company also plans a $10 billion share repurchase program.

Cook said: "We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure. You'll see more of all of these in the future."

It isn't as if Apple's out of money after these shareholder-pleasing moves. It retains $45 billion from its c.$90 billion hoard, so the company will continue to be deeply competitive.

Tremendous oppportunities ahead

"Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business," Cook said in a release.

CFO Peter Oppenheimer added: "We are extremely confident in our future and see tremendous opportunities ahead."

These opportunities should be led by a refresh of the MacBook Air range, possibly including a 15-inch model. I'm anticipating the announcement of new Mac laptops in the coming weeks.

At time of writing, AAPL shares are up five points at time of writing (0.85 percent). Analysts are happy, saying the dividend should make the stock more attractive to a wider investor base.

With hit product following hit product from the Apple dream machine and cash results firing on all cylinders, will the divident give the company's stock some impetus to hit $1,000 a share? What do you think?

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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