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Apple: 3 million iPads sold since launch

Apple says it sold 3 million iPads over the weekend, not counting preorders. That handily beats previous iPad launches, and puts it close to that of the iPhone 4S last year.

iPads piled up last week.
iPads piled up last week.
James Martin/CNET

Hours after saying it sold a "record" number number of third-generation iPads this past weekend, Apple has given that record a tally.

Today the company said it has sold 3 million of the devices since launching on Friday in more than a dozen countries. That number does not include preorders of the device, which went live the day the product was announced.

"The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold--the strongest iPad launch yet," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in a statement.

The news comes on the heels of Apple announcing plans to offer a quarterly dividend to shareholders, as well as a stock repurchasing program. In a call with analysts following the news, Apple CEO Tim Cook dodged a question about how many iPads the company had sold during its initial weekend on sale, saying only that it was "a record weekend."

To put the 3 million metric in perspective, preorders for the iPhone 4S--Apple's most popular product launch to date--topped 1 million units in its first 24 hours on sale, with the device going on to sell more than 4 million units during its launch weekend. That initial figure for iPhone 4S sales also did not include preorders; the company released total sales for the device after the end of the quarter. Apple did not report initial sales of the iPad 2 after the device made its debut last year, but did report launch sales of the first-generation model, which pulled in first-day sales of 300,000 units.

Apple has sold more than 58 million iPads since launching the product in 2010, a metric that includes today's 3 million number. The company sold 15.43 million in its most recently reported fiscal quarter, which ended in December.

Despite the fact that new buyers of Apple's third-generation iPad face a two- to three-week delay on new orders, the tablet launches in 24 additional countries this Friday.

Shares of Apple are trading at $603.79, up $2.70 (or 0.45 percent), in after-hours trading.