Among the biggest winners in the annual Black Friday fracas? The Apple iPad.
Although Apple has yet to release official numbers on its tablet line, analytics firm InfoScout has crunched data from more than 125,000 American shoppers and determined that at the two of the three biggest big box stores in the country, the iPad was the top item sold.
The figures break down like this: At Wal-Mart, the most popular single item was the 16GB iPad Mini. At Target, the three most popular single items were all iPads: the 16GB iPad Air (first place); the 16GB iPad Mini (second); and the 32GB iPad Air (third place). At BestBuy, the Microsoft Surface tablet led the pack, but the 16GB iPad 2 (on sale for $299) wasn't very far behind at all.
According to InfoScout, a full 22 percent of Target's early sales on Black Friday were Apple products. Meanwhile, iPads – Minis, Airs, and older models – made up 18 percent of Target's sales, 10 times the sales of all Android tablets put together. In a separate post – and one that must be no less dismaying for Google – InfoScout estimated that of all the iPads sold on Black Friday, 40 percent were purchased by Android users.
The numbers helped substantially pump up estimates from Wall Street analysts, who are increasingly bullish on Apple's prospects over the next few months.
The Apple iPad Air was first revealed in October and officially launched at the beginning of November.
"Surprise: the iPad Air is the best iPad we've reviewed," Brad Molen of Engadget wrote in a recent evaluation of the Air. "In addition, though, it's also the most comfortable 10-inch tablet we've ever tested. Not every manufacturer can produce a thin and light device without also making it feel cheap or flimsy, but Apple nailed it. Factor in a sizable boost in performance and battery life, and the Air is even more compelling."