By Jim Karpen on Thu, 12/20/2012
No doubt about it, the iPad mini is a hit. According to DigiTimes, which has sources in Apple's supply chain (but which isn't always accurate), Apple had initially estimated they would sell 10 million iPad minis in 2012. But then due to the shortage of components, which was caused by the challenge of manufacturing defect-free devices, Apple adjusted their expectation downward to 6-8 million units. Apple always pushes the limits of the technology, and the result is that during initial production many of the devices have defects simply because they're difficult to build. But then the manufacturer gradually gets better at it, yield rates improve, and more units are produced at a lower overall cost. Yield rates for the iPad mini have now improved, and according to DigiTimes, Apple has increased its 2012 order for iPad minis from 8 million units to 10 million. DigiTimes says that Apple should sell over 10 million units and could sell as many as 12 million this year.
Further, component suppliers say that they expect the demand to remain at the same level into the begining of 2013.
12 million is an incredible figure -- nearly 1 million per week since the device's introduction in late September. And that's just the iPad mini. Overall, the iPad was at the top of most wish lists this Christmas. According to an article on Mashable, a Neilsen survey of over 3,000 kids found that the iPad topped the list of most wished-for gifts.
How's the competition doing? The Kindle Fire, from Amazon, has so far been the iPad's biggest competitor. According to Business Insider, Amazon may sell as few as 6 million of these tablets this holiday quarter. The article says that the Kindle Fire seems to do better during the holiday season, but then demand drops off precipitously. They say the reason may be that people buy it as a gift for someone else, but then aren't all that impressed with it, and end up buying an iPad for themselves.