As many as 12 million iPad Mini units could be on store shelves by the end of the year as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) ramps up production following strong sales worldwide. According to DigiTimes , Apple had previously reduced its shipment expectations to eight million units or less. This was due to a component shortage caused by weak yields. Now that yield rates are improving, Apple has managed to catch up to its original expectations and has shipped more than eight million units. As a result, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant recently raised its shipment plans to 10 million units. However, it could ship even more before December 31.
This is the first time that investors have been informed of how well the iPad Mini is performing. While the official word from Apple is that it sold three million iPad Mini and iPad 4 units combined , the company did not reveal how many units were sold of each individual device. Apple has also neglected to provide any sales figures beyond the opening weekend numbers. The iPhone maker historically saves those numbers for its quarterly reports.
Shipment figures often differ from the number of units that have actually been sold. However, Apple would not be able to continue producing iPad Minis if they were not selling well. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) and other retailers would not continue to stock them if they were simply going to sit on the shelf and collect dust. Thus, if the DigiTimes report is correct, it is safe to assume that Apple has already sold eight million iPad Minis -- hence the demand for an additional two to four million units.
In breaking down the numbers, DigiTimes' upstream supply chain sources reported that they supplied enough components to produce as many as 4.5 million iPad Mini units in both October and November. They anticipate a similar level of supplies for December, and expect those supplies to remain steady in the first quarter of 2013. If Apple keeps this up, the company should be able to ship more than 24 million units by the end of March.
That being the case, the iPad Mini could prove to be the one bright spot on Apple's Q1 FY13 results. At least one analyst anticipates that the iPhone 5 sales will be far below expectations . The new smartphone already disappointed investors during its initial weekend on the market, at which time the company sold five million units . This set a new record for Apple, but many analysts expected the company to sell twice as many units.
Consumers sharply disagreed with this assessment. In a poll conducted on iDownloadBlog , 55 percent of respondents said that they were not disappointed by the initial sales figures.
Apple set another record when the iPhone 5 was released in China, selling more than two million units . This was particularly impressive because the company failed to inspire consumers to wait in line overnight to purchase the device. On the morning it was released, only one man could be found at the company's flagship store in China. Only two people showed up at another popular Apple Store in the region.
If Apple -- which has dropped roughly two percent over the last five days -- continue to disappoint investors with its iPhone 5 results, the stock may continue to decline. The iPad Mini could even things out, however, if its sales prove to be higher than expected.
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