Wall Street analysts on Monday joined the masses in terming Apple Inc's iPad launch as rock-solid, with some pegging sales of the tablet computer at about 5 million units in the first 12 months.
At least four brokerages raised their price target and full-year estimates on the company, two days after Apple's latest device hit stores.
Analysts also said the tablet computer's margins would push up Apple's earnings from the onset.
In a statement, Apple said it had sold more than 300,000 iPads on the first day of its launch.
Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes estimated that Apple sold about 400,000 iPads in the launch weekend, while Kaufman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu expects sales of 250,000-300,000 units.
Reitzes said the launch day was a success for Apple with strong pre-orders, wait lines at stores and an overall sense of intense consumer interest in the product.
JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz said Apple faithful and the early adopters should help the iPad beat subdued investor expectations in the interim, but critical mass depends on future product generations overcoming current limitations.
Moskowitz estimates iPad's gross margins to be about 51 percent and expects Apple to sell about 4.8 million units in the first 12 months.
Susquehanna Financial analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro raised his calendar year 2010 unit sales estimates to 4.8 million units from 2.1 million units.
Analyst Fidacaro, who expects a smaller second wave of demand in late April for the 3G version, said due to iPad's robust eReader capabilities it is likely to take share from Amazon.com Inc's Kindle.
Shanon Cross of Cross Research pegged launch weekend iPad sales at about 350,000.
Apple has plenty riding on the iPad, which it unveiled in January and calls a new category of machine: a lightweight media consumption device that tries to fuse the best attributes of a smartphone and a laptop.
JP Morgan raised its price target on Apple stock to $305 from $240, Kaufman Brothers increased it to $295 from $253 and Thomas Weisel Partners lifted its price target to $280 from $270.
Susquehanna raised its price target to $275 from $260 while Barclays kept its price target unchanged at $285.
Apple's stock is up around 12 percent this year and has been setting new all-time highs. Shares of the company were trading up $1.59 at $237.56 Monday in trading before the bell. The stock closed at $235.97 Thursday on Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)