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iPad Mini popularity burying regular iPad, claim suppliers

Trends and shipment estimates indicate that the iPad Mini is overwhelming the iPad in popularity.

iPad Mini (R) is leaving the iPad in the dust, according to supply chain estimates.
iPad Mini (R) is leaving the iPad in the dust, according to supply chain estimates.

The iPad Mini appears to be trouncing the iPad in popularity based on estimates coming out of the Asia-based supply chain.

Of the 19.5 million iPads sold in Apple's second quarter (January to March), 12.5 million were iPad Minis, according to an estimate from Taipei-based Digitimes that cited sources. The publication defines the number as "shipments."

Of course, only Apple (which does not break down iPad and iPad Mini sales) knows the real number, but this jibes with shipment trends that DisplaySearch was seeing in December.

At that time, DisplaySearch expected Apple to sell 6 million iPad Minis in 2012 but upped that "more than 12 million," according to DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh. All of those sales would have taken place in Apple's first quarter, which ended in December. That's because the iPad Mini wasn't released for sale until November.

"It seems people especially like the size...[it's] lighter, slimmer and easier to carry," Hsieh said to CNET at the time, referring to Mini's 7.9-inch display versus the iPad's 9.7-incher.

Sameer Singh at Tech-Thoughts put iPad Mini shipments at 12 million as the highest possible figure in the most recent quarter ending in March (estimating the lowest possible number to be a little less than 9 million).

The popularity of the Mini comes despite having a relatively low-resolution non-Retina display and older silicon compared with the iPad 4. So, it appears that the Mini's price, starting at $329, and its chic, lightweight design are driving demand.

This also tracks the overall trend in the tablet market. Throw the 7.9-inch iPad Mini in with the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire (as low as $159), Google's Nexus 7 ($199), and Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab ($179), and you have a market mainstream shifting toward small, low-cost tablets ranging in size from 7 inches to 8 inches.

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