Apple: iPad’s first-day sales top 300,000

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Apple confirmed Monday that the iPad was a hit in early sales, as if the long lines at the company’s stores Saturday when the new device debuted weren’t indication enough.

The Cupertino company sold more than 300,000 iPads in the United States the first day the new tablet computer was on store shelves. Additionally Saturday, iPad users downloaded more than 1 million programs for the device and some 250,000 eBooks.

“It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world — it’s going to be a game changer,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement.

The strong initial demand for the new device led Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore to raise his earnings forecast and price target for Apple stock. Whitmore, whose firm has done non-investment banking work for Apple in the last year, now expects Apple’s stock to hit $325 a share, up from a previous target of $250.

In recent trading Monday, Apple’s shares were up 35 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $236.32

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