Apple on Friday launched two new iPad models in a total of 34 countries, making it the largest product launch yet for the company.
The 7.9-inch iPad mini and 9.7-inch fourth-generation iPad debuted in what Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets called Apple's "broadest and deepest iPad launch ever, just in time for the holidays." In comparison, the third-generation iPad debuted in 12 countries this March, while the iPad 2 launched exclusively in the U.S. in 2011.
In addition to the U.S., the iPad mini launched Friday in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.
White expects the 16-gigabyte iPad mini will sell out fast, particularly the white and silver model. Apple's online store completely sold out of all white and silver capacities just hours after preorders began a week ago.
White expects Apple will sell between 800,000 and a million iPad minis over the launch weekend, with demand far outstripping supply. In the December quarter, he has forecast Apple to sell 7 million iPad mini units, with demand that will "swamp supply, given constraints in the supply chain."
For its 2013 fiscal year, he expects Apple will sell 30 million iPad mini units, with sales growing to 48 million in fiscal 2014.
As for the fourth-generation iPad, White believes Apple will come closer to meeting demand this weekend than with the iPad mini. He said that as the iPad mini begins to sell out, some customers may opt for the larger fourth-generation iPad.
White's projected launch sales for the iPad mini are slightly lower than the prediction from Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. On Thursday, Munster said he believes Apple will sell between a million and 1.5 million iPad minis over the launch weekend.
In comparison, Apple sold 3 million units of the third-generation iPad when it launched earlier this year in March. One key difference with the iPad mini launch is there are not models available with cellular data connections this weekend. The 4G LTE capable iPad mini models are expected to launch later this month.