Apple Inc has sold 450,000 iPads since its debut on Saturday, Chief Executive Steve Jobs said, setting a fairly torrid pace for a device expected to power the electronics giant's future growth.

Since the launch of the device -- touted as a new class of gadget that will bridge laptops and smartphones -- users have downloaded 600,000 digital books and 3.5 million applications, the Apple chief said on Thursday.

At a media event at Apple's Cupertino, California, headquarters, Jobs said users had also downloaded more than 4 billion applications for the iPhone, the popular smartphone that competes with Research in Motion's Blackberry.

Apple is helping foster a market for tablet computers that is expected to explode to as many as 50 million units by 2014, according to analysts.

Shares of Apple inched 0.2 percent higher to $241.12 in afternoon trade on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; writing by Edwin Chan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)