Stronger than expected demand has led Apple to increase the number of iPad Mini displays on order from 6 million to 12 million.
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Apple misjudged how popular the iPad Mini would be, according to NPD DisplaySearch. The company initially asked its suppliers to provide it with 6 million of the 7.85-inch display panels used by the iPad Mini. That figure is proving to be woefully short. Apple is stepping up the number of orders to 12 million in order to meet the high demand for its smaller tablet.
The iPad Mini has been in short supply since its November 2 launch. Just recently, shipping times for the device improved to one week. It was previously shipping in two to three weeks. It is still scarce at retail outlets. Apparently some didn't think it was going to play out this way.
"When Apple unveiled the iPad Mini in October many criticized its $329 price as too expensive for a 7[-inch] segment tablet PC, given competition from other 7-inch tablet PCs, including Amazon Kindle Fire, Google Nexus, ASUS and many private labels," wrote NPD's David Hsieh. Many of these competing devices cost $199 or less.
"However, there is always a strong base of customers who only want Apple products; recently, the iPad Mini was voted one of the hottest consumer products of 2012 in Japan," said Hsieh.
The popularity of the iPad Mini is forcing Apple's suppliers to go into overdrive. The company has placed orders for 70 million iPad display panels this year, with 23 million slated for the iPad 2 and 47 million slated for the latest full-size iPad, released in October alongside the iPad Mini. However, the iPad 2 has remained a consistently strong seller thanks to its $399 price tag. Apple has downgraded orders for the larger iPad's screen, and boosted the number for the older iPad 2, which remains for sale.
The newest full-size iPad has a 9.7-inch Retina Display, with 2048 x 1536 pixels. The iPad 2 has a 9.7-inch display with 1024 x 768 pixels. The iPad Mini has a 7.85-inch display with 1024 x 768 pixels.
For 2013, NPD believes the iPad Mini may outsell the Retina Display iPad.
"In 2013, it is likely that Apple will adjust its product portfolio to meet the strong demand for the iPad Mini," noted Hsieh. "We believe that Apple is targeting total iPad shipments of 100 million in 2013, half accounted for by the iPad Mini, and 40 million new iPad and 10 million iPad 2, as production continues at least until the middle of 2013."
Aside from the iPad Mini's lower price point, it's smaller size and easier portability have likely played a role in its popularity when compared to its larger iPad brothers. It is significantly lighter than the full-size iPads, and the reduced footprint makes it a snap to carry about.
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