The iPad Mini Is More Popular Than Even Apple Expected

Senior Contributor
12.14.12 5 Comments

Apple’s marketing department correctly predicts sales.

The iPad Mini is in no way a bad tablet, because it’s just an iPad 2, and that was a great tablet. But it costs $330, where its competitors, such as the Nexus 7, are cheaper, faster, have more storage and were aimed comfortably at the e-reader market, which really pioneered the 7-inch tablet market. I predicted that it was going to choke.

And I was wrong. Instead, its success has surprised even Apple.

How successful is the iPad Mini? So successful that Apple has found itself having to double the number of units it was expecting to put on the shelves:

Apple had originally expected to sell 6 million iPad Minis in 2012. But that’s turning out to be a laughably low forecast, according to DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh.

Now, Apple is asking display panel makers to “ship more than 12 million” iPad Mini displays in the fourth quarter, Hsieh said in a research note.

To give you an idea of just what a surprise this is to Apple, this is outselling the iPad 4. In fact, next year Apple is expected to ship 100 million iPads, and the Mini will account for half of that. Apparently people like the lighter weight and smaller form factor.

So now Apple is scrambling. The iPad Mini was always blatantly a stop-gap, a product scaled down to fit into a line while the real product was on the way. Now Apple’s got to figure out how to A) ship more of them and B) how to upgrade it while keeping the price low.

Not a bad place to be in, but it might turn around to bite Apple, especially if it chews into 10-inch tablet sales. Or if people realize en masse that image is not a good criterion for picking consumer electronics, but the former is more likely than the latter.

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