Steve Jobs said Apple would never produce a smaller iPad because he firmly believed that a smaller display would degrade from the overall experience of the user. However, according to a report by DisplaySearch today, it seems that Jobs’ outlook for the future of the iPad was off center.
iPad sales falter
Statistics released by DisplaySearch indicate that shipments of iPad displays dropped from 7.4 million units in December 2012 to a mere 1.3 million units in January 2013, while display panels for smaller tablets in the 7-inch and 7.9-inch (iPad mini) actually increased from 12 million to 14 million during the same time frame.
A reversal of fortune
The original sales plan from Apple projected larger sales numbers for the full-sized iPad over the iPad mini. These future estimate figures expected at leasst 60 million iPad sales and 40 million iPad mini sales for 2013.
But David Hsieh of DisplayResearch commented:
“However, the reality seems to be the reverse.”
January production numbers show the opposite of what Apple was expecting: the iPad mini is selling much stronger than the iPad.
“We now understand that Apple may be planning to sell 55 [million] iPad Minis (7.9″) and 33M iPads (9.7″) in 2013.”
Consumer preferences shift
When the iPad was first introduced to the world in 2010, a wave of competitors scrambled to emulate Apple’s successful device by meeting or beating its display size. But as these full-sized tablets started to become more popular, the consumer trend was going in the opposite direction towards smaller-sized tablets.
With the huge success of 7-inch tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7, Apple could no longer stand by its original founder’s wishes and moved into the niche of small tablets.
The iPad mini now outsells the iPad 4 and no doubt, Apple has more plans to produce smaller tablet sizes that will probably go down to 5-inches, a la Samsung Note. If this happens, this will mean the end of the 4-inch iPod iTouch as we know it.