Sales of the new iPad set new records, say Apple and AT&T by Philip Elmer-DeWitt @FortuneMagazine March 19, 2012, 4:29 PM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Early reports that its reception was “not-so-spectacular” seem to have been off the mark Photo: David Goldman, CNNMoney Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research stuck his neck out Sunday and pronounced sales of the new iPad “somewhat light.” Relying on the number of hits on Chitika‘s ad network– always a risk, in our experience — he went so far as to suggest three reasons that the new iPad’s launch was such a disappointment: (I quote) Lack of compelling upgrades to the form factor Lack of emotional outpouring for the new iPad3, that was seen for iPhone4S Higher gasoline Prices, which may have affected the consumer buying behavior, no matter how good the product is He also mentioned Monday’s conference call in which Apple was to announce its decision about what to do with all that excess cash: “Apple’s CEO has become quite promotional in recent months and together with the distribution of cash, this may compensate for the not-so-spectacular, but many products this year.” Well, CEO Tim Cook did announce a dividend and a stock repurchase plan Monday. He also mentioned, when asked, that he was “very thrilled” with what he characterized as a “record weekend” of iPad sales. Apple AAPL , however, didn’t offer any sales numbers or indicate what record was broken (iPad 2? iPhone 4S? Macbook Air?). But Cook’s claim was soon buttressed by a brief AT&T T press release announcing that on Friday the carrier set a new single-day record for iPad sales and activations. The release was too brief, however, to make room for the number new activations. UPDATE: We have numbers: 3 million new iPads in nearly 4 days, according to Apple’s 5 p.m. Monday press release. See here.