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iPad shipments could hit 26 million this quarter, says analyst

Holiday sales will surge with the addition of the new iPad Mini and fourth-generation iPad, according to one forecast.

Apple's latest iPads.
Apple's latest iPads. Brooke Crothers/CNET

The iPad should ring up lots of holiday cheer for Apple, according to a forecast today from analyst Sameer Singh.

An analyst with mergers and acquisitions consulting group Finvista Advisors, Singh put together his projections for iPad shipments based on some historical cues.

The second and fourth quarters have traditionally been the strongest ones for the iPad, however, the fourth quarter has been the champ. That's not surprising because Apple has typically unveiled each year's new iPad in the second quarter. Holiday shoppers provide a jolt to the fourth quarter.

But this year the company launched two new iPads in the fourth quarter. The dual unveiling has triggered concerns that the iPad Mini may be cannibalizing sales from the iPad 4. And several analysts do believe the 7-inch tablet is stealing business from its bigger brother.

Singh takes that likelihood into account, projecting that total iPad shipments could have hit 22.7 million had the iPad Mini never shown up.

The Mini has run into its own trouble in the form of limited supply. The smaller tablet currently shows a ship time of two weeks via Apple's online store, while the fourth-generation model is in stock and immediately available .

The analyst also pointed to reports claiming that production of the Mini has been stalled due to production problems at AU Optronics, a new display panel supplier for Apple.

Yet despite these factors, Singh expects a robust holiday quarter for the iPad lineup.

Based on his data, the analyst said he believes Apple will ship between 24 million and 26 million iPads this quarter.

The iPad Mini will account for 6 million to 7 million of those. All other models combined (the iPad 2, 3, and 4) will grab the remaining 18 million to 19 million.