Previous estimate suggested tablet would sell 1 to 1.5 million units.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes the majority of launch weekend iPad sales were from the iPad Mini.
Out of the three million iPad units Apple sold during the past weekend, he estimates that the company sold 2 to 2.5 million iPad Minis, which is a considerably higher amount from a previous estimate of 1 to 1.5 million. The analyst based his estimation on line surveys, which shows that around nine out of every 10 customers were waiting for the iPad Mini as opposed to the iPad 4.
Munster said he maintains his previous estimate of $12.6 billion in overall iPad revenue during the December quarter for Apple. Depending on the availability of the Mini, the unit totals may shift.
"Specifically, units may increase driven by iPad Mini, but have a slight cannibalization effect, which, when factoring in the lower [average selling price], would result in revenue unchanged," Munster said. "We are currently modeling for 25 million total iPads including 20 million full-sized iPads and 5 million Minis in December."
J.P.Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, meanwhile, agreed with Munster's prediction of most first-weekend sales were likely attributed to the iPad Mini. He expects the tablet to take share away from the $199 tablet market, as well as hurt e-reader and PC markets.
"Given the global economic uncertainty, we think price-sensitive users could gravitate toward an iPad mini instead of making a PC purchase. Our view is that the incremental use case is more differentiated for first-time tablet users. In tough times, unique or 'feel good' purchases can be more amenable to end users, which gives the edge to the tablet versus the PC, in our view," Moskowitz noted.
Rather than the iPhone, which makes the bulk of Apple's revenues and profits, the analyst believes the iPad Mini could help the tablet become the firm's main growth market. "In our view, barring entry of another new category, Apple's iPad Mini could set the stage for the iPad product set to carry the growth baton in the future, particularly as iPhone growth momentum moderates."