Apple: Three million new iPads sold since Friday's launch

In a press release this afternoon, Apple announced that it hit the three million unit mark for iPad sales since Friday's launch of the device, presumably including pre-ordered iPads. That's the strongest launch for any version of the device, according to Apple's Phil Schiller (although it should be noted that the new iPad was available for pre-order, while the iPad 2 was not).

On this morning's financial analyst call regarding Apple's new dividend and stock repurchase plan, Tim Cook allowed that Apple had a "record weekend" of sales, but likely he was waiting for the point where Apple could release a nice round number before giving any figures.

Lumping in pre-ordered devices and assuming that the count went from 8 am ET Friday to 4 pm ET today, that's a total of 80 hours of sales -- 4,800 minutes. Some quick arithmetic shows that worldwide, Apple averaged a transaction rate of six hundred and twenty-five iPads per minute, or more than ten iPads sold every second. If we could drop out the pre-orders from that, the rate would go down... but still. Wow.