By now, you've likely heard the news that Apple sold three million new iPads during the device's first weekend of availability. Those staggering sales receipts are prompting some to dramatically escalate their iPad sales projections for the remainder of 2012.

Estimates aside, however, the facts show the iPad's annual rate of growth is ballooning to 156%. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says Apple could sell 66 million of its tablets in 2012, 6 million more than his previous estimate suggested.

“The bottom line is the iPad is ramping at an accelerating rate,” Munster told investors in a note released Tuesday morning. “We believe the unprecedented ramp of the iPad over the past year is evidence that the tablet market will be measurably larger than the PC market.”

And, naturally, that which is good news for the iPad is also good news for the tablet industry at large. This week, the IDC raised its 2012 estimates for overall tablet sales to 106.1 million units, which is substantially higher than the last projection of just 87.7 million units.

Sources: Forbes, ABC