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Apple projected to sell at least 1 million of new iPad on launch day

This Friday's iPad launch will be another blockbuster for Apple, with one new analysis projecting that the company will sell at least one million on the first day alone.

Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray said in a note to investors on Monday that he expects Apple will sell more than a million iPads on Friday when the new model hits shelves. That would be a positive for the company, which has likely seen iPad sales slow down after the holidays in anticipation of a new model.

Wall Street watchers generally expect Apple will sell about 10.1 million iPads in the current March quarter. Sales of one million in just one day would go a long way toward exceeding that projection for the three-month period.

"That said, even if iPad sales are less than 10 (million) in (the March quarter), we see it as a win-win given investors will attribute the miss to a slowdown ahead of the new iPad and start to anticipate a strong rebound in the June-12 quarter," Munster wrote.

Back in 2010, Apple sold more than 300,000 iPads on the first-generation product's launch day. Supply for the iPad 2 launch was very constrained, and Apple did not give a launch-day sales figure.

For the third-generation iPad launch, Munster drew a comparison to the iPhone 4 debut in 2010. He noted that since the launch of the first iPad, Apple has sold just over 55 million iPads, while the iPhone 4 debuted in 5 countries after Apple had sold over 50 million iPhones through the March 2010 quarter.

"The company took 600 (thousand) pre-orders in one day (6/5/10) before systems were overloaded and pre-orders were halted," Munster wrote. "Then on 6/24 retail sales began and by 6/26 (with 3 days of sales) the company had sold 1.7 (million) iPHone 4 units. Given the new iPad will be sold in 12 countries on 3/16, we are confident the company will sell over 1 (million) on launch day."

As of Monday, new iPad orders have an estimated shipping date of two to three weeks. Shipping dates began to slip last Friday, after the new iPad was available for preorder for less than two days.