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Magic iPad shifts 300,000 units in first weekend

O2 is now offering tablet insurance through its O2 Money unit

Apple’s latest market disruptor, the iPad, launched in the US on April 3 and promptly sold over 300,000 units in the first weekend.

iPad users also downloaded over one million apps from Apple’s App Store and over 250,000 ebooks from its iBookstore during the first day.

The wifi only version launched at the weekend. Dubbed as a ‘magical’ device by chief exec Steve Jobs, the iPad will sell for $499 for the 16GB, $599 for the 32GB, and $699 for the 64GB versions. The 3G-capable models will be available at $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.

Apple opened up a new section in the App Store to cater to the iPad, although the device is also able to use 140,000 existing iPhone and iPod Touch applications. However, some have noted that once some of these apps scale up to the available resolution of the iPad (1024 by 768 pixels at 132 pixels per inch) they look a bit like the blocky graphics of the Commodore 64

The device will hit European shores (Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the UK) as well as Australia, Canada and Japan late in the same month.

In related news, mobile ad network AdMob, which may or may not be acquired by Google, depending on what the competition authorities say, is expected to show off its advertising platform for the iPad before the month is out.

Meanwhile, the Apple faithful will later this week get a sneak preview of what’s going on in iPhone OS v4.0. Invitations have been sent out to an exclusive US event on April 8, at which attendees will get a glimpse of OS 4.0. The new platform will not make it to the market until later this year however.

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