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iPad mini and iPad 4 sell like hot slates, Apple boasts

Apple flogged 3 million of its newest iPads last weekend, a record for the Californian company.

Apple flogged 3 million of its newest iPads -- the iPad with retina display and its Mini-Me, the iPad mini -- last weekend. The Californian company boasts this is a record for its tablets, doubling the 1.5 million Wi-Fi only iPad 3s it shifted after its first three days on sale in March.

That's pretty darn quick -- Asus last week revealed it has also shipped out 3 million of its superbly cheap Nexus 7 tablets, but the iPad mini's closest competitor went on sale back in July, well over 120 days ago. Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 -- a little smaller, but not by much -- hit the 3 million mark in just over a month.

It's hard to compare like for like here, but all these numbers give us some idea of relative popularity. Apple hasn't said how many iPad minis it sold compared to retina iPads, possibly because it doesn't want stories about cannibalising its own sales. It does, however, give genuine sales figures, whereas Samsung and Asus tend to put out numbers for units shipped -- ie how many tablets or phones have left the factory and reached shop shelves, as opposed to being bought by punters.

The iPad mini sold out in some big Apple Stores last weekend, but not others. It should be perfectly possible to walk into any Apple shop now and pick one up. The online delivery date is currently at two weeks direct from Apple's website.

Meanwhile, an analysis of the materials used in the iPad mini by teardown specialists IHS iSupply claims the £269 16GB iPad mini costs $188 (£118) for the parts and $10 (£4.40) for 'manufacturing expense'. There's no way of knowing if that's accurate -- Apple's contracts with its suppliers are top-secret, so it could well be getting a much better deal on those parts, particularly as it's buying millions of them.

The price doesn't take into account how much it costs to design a new product, or develop and maintain its software -- costs the iPad mini will share with its iPad and iPhone brethren. Nevertheless, if that educated guess is accurate, it shows just what bargains the £159 Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD are, thanks to generous subsidies from their makers, who are desperate to add you as a paying customer for their apps and services.

The last few weeks have seen some of the most high-profile launches in recent years. It's been exhausting but hugely exciting for us tech hacks -- keep your dial locked to CNET UK for tonnes more videos, camera tests, comparisons and how tos on all these top-notch gadgets. Let me know what you'd like to see in the comments, or over on Facebook.