Apple announced late Monday that it had sold 3 million new iPads in the tablet’s first weekend on the market, backing up claims that the device had a record number of sales.

That’s an impressive number . In Apple’s first quarter after the launch of the iPad 2, the company announced that it had sold 4.6 million iPads altogether. In Apple’s latest quarter, the company sold 15.4 million iPads.

The new iPad with its lauded display, graphics processing power and long battery life, appears to have drawn a lot of first-time tablet buyers. That’s bad news for Microsoft, which will be making a big tablet push this year leading up to the expected fall launch of Windows 8. And it’s bad for makers of Android tablets, who have gained market share as a group but haven’t had individual breakout hits.

Samsung, which has introduced several tablets, has conceded that it’s “not doing very well in the tablet market,” in the words of Samsung product strategy executive Hankil Yoon, CNET reported.

On news of the iPad sales figures, analysts reaffirmed or upped their confidence in Apple. Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee said that the launch was stronger than expected; he raised his price target on Apple to $740 per share.

Ahead of the launch, it was estimated that Apple had sold a total of 55 million iPads, and analysts expect that while Apple is losing market share in the tablet world, it will still hit the 100 million mark by the end of this year.

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