Apple's iPad mini will likely outsell the full-size iPad in 2013 by a full 60 percent, according to data from NPD. The group said the smaller sized iPad is proving more popular than expected, and Apple has already revised its sales expectations to take that into account.
The iPad's real competition is the iPad mini
"Apple had planned to sell 40 million iPad minis (7.9-inch) and 60 million iPads (9.7-inch) in 2013. However, the reality seems to be the reverse, as the iPad mini has been more popular than the iPad," NPD said in a report. "We now understand that Apple may be planning to sell 55 million iPad minis (7.9-inch) and 33 million iPads (9.7-inch) in 2013."
The iPad mini beat expectations during the holiday season, prompting Apple to rethink its sales projections for the new year.
Assuming Apple hits the projected 88 million unit mark with combined iPad and iPad mini sales for fiscal 2013, its tablet figures will be up almost 50 percent compared to the 60 million iPads Apple sold in fiscal 2012.
The overall tablet market is expected to reach 254 million units in 2013, which is a big jump from 2012's 160 million units. The smaller-size screen form factor, which includes the iPad mini and also includes screen sizes below 8.9-inches, is expected to make up 60 percent of all sales.
Along with holding the dominant position in the tablet market, Apple is also driving the design style for the devices. The iPad mini's small bezel, for example, has driven design changes in competitors trying to mimic Apple's look.
The competition is hoping to take advantage of the iPad mini's popularity, too, even though many of the companies beat Apple to the small screen tablet market. "Samsung, Amazon, Google, ASUS and Acer are all eyeing the 7- to 9-inch segment to grab tablet PC market share, while many white box makers in China are also emphasizing the smaller size tablet PC," NPD said.
Despite the iPad mini's lower screen resolution and slower processor compared to the full size iPad, it seems to have become the more popular model. The lower price, and light weight one-handed form factor have likely played a role in that, and when the first iPad mini hardware refresh is released it may become even more popular.
John Martellaro has weighed in on this report: "Surge in iPad mini Popularity Shows Tablet Market is in Flux."